2022 Awards and Recognition Celebration: UH Hilo annual awards honor top faculty, staff, and student employee

Nine members of the UH Hilo community received annual awards at a celebration held on campus May 5, 2022.

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin yesterday hosted the annual Awards and Recognition Celebration, an event to honor the accomplishments of the university’s faculty and staff. It was the first time in two years the event was held in person.

Honorees are those who won awards given out annually for extraordinary contributions to the campus, faculty and staff who retired during the previous year, and those who have worked at UH Hilo for milestone decades. One student award is also bestowed each year.

This year’s honorees are as follows.

UH Hilo Awards

      • Student Employee of the Year: Sheadon Freitas, Office of the Registrar.
      • Student Employment Team of the Year: Women’s and LGBTQ+ Center.
      • Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation: Kea Kapahua, Lecturer in Dance, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • Excellence in Service Award: Comfort Sumida, Senior Advisor at the Advising Center.
      • Pūlama ʻIke Award: Seri Luangphinith, Professor of English, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life: Matthew Kalahiki, Administrative and Fiscal Support, Campus Center, Division of Student Affairs.
      • Excellence in Building & Grounds Maintenance Award: William Walters, Director, Auxiliary Services, Administrative Affairs.
      • Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: Susan Wackerbarth Oldfather, Instructor of English and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program, College of Arts and Sciences.

UH System Awards 

      • Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching: Tarisi Vunidilo, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Coordinator of the Pacific Island Studies Certificate, College of Arts and Sciences.
      • UH Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching: Bryan Kim, Professor of Psychology; Social Sciences Division Chair, College of Arts and Sciences.

Click here for descriptions of the awards.

(as of Dec. 31, 2021)

      • Robert Abe, Technician, Performing Arts Center, 30 years.
      • Kimberly Furumo, Professor of Management Information Systems, 16 years.
      • Norbert Furumo, Associate Professor of Chemistry, 15 years.
      • Janice Hall, Business Office, 12 years.
      • Mary Louise Haraguchi, Hawaiian Collection Librarian, 9 years.
      • Kevin Hopkins, Professor of Aquaculture, 33 years.
      • Patricia Jusczak, Associate Specialist of Pharmacy, 11 years.
      • Gabriel Kipapa Jr, Janitorial Support, 28 years.
      • Daryl Masuda, Computing Center, 32 years.
      • Gary Nekoba, Computing Center, 33 years.
      • Solomon Nihipali Jr, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, 10 years.
      • Yu Yok Pearring, Director of Marketing, 21 years.
      • Eric Rodrigues, Plumber, Auxiliary Services, 13 years.
      • Cheryl Ramos, Professor of Psychology, 23 years.
      • Gary Rosario, Auxiliary Services, 7 years.
      • Kathleen Stacey, Library, 15 years.
      • Annette Sugimoto, Human Resources, 23 years.
      • Michelle Sylvester, Library, 11 years.
      • LoriAnn Varize, Library, 9 years.
      • Grace Viernes-Dela Cruz, Computing Center, 38 years.

Years of Service

10 Years

      • Calvin Fukuhara, Building Maintenance Supervisor, Auxiliary Services.
      • Armando Garcia Ortega, Associate Professor of Aquaculture.
      • Eric Heuer, Associate Professor of Psychology.
      • Cara Ikeda, Academic Support Specialist for Pharmacy.
      • Chelsea Kay-Wong, Registrar.
      • Dana-Lynn Koomoa-Lange, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
      • Christopher Lauer, Chair and Associate Professor of Philosophy.
      • Richard Murray, Director of Security.
      • Jenna Waipa, Lead Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students.
      • Cathy Wiltse, Director of the Small Business Development Center.
      • Valerie Yamaki, Fitness Coordinator at the Student Life Center.

20 Years

      • Deborah Beirne, Educational Specialist of Biology.
      • Philippe Binder, Professor of Physics.
      • Lai Sha Bugado, Director of Campus Center.
      • Lincoln Gotshalk, Professor of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences.
      • Kathleen Hughes, Information Technology Specialist.
      • Seri Luangphinith, Professor of English.
      • Daryl Masanda, Director of Student Services at Pharmacy College.
      • Anson Ohara, Account Clerk.
      • Rebecca Ostertag, Professor of Biology.
      • Kolby Santiago, Assistant Director of Financial Aid.
      • Susan Wackerbarth Oldfather, Instructor of English.
      • William Walters, Director of Auxiliary Services.

30 Years

      • Kyle Fujiyoshi, Administrative Officer of Housing.
      • Samuelyn Gaison-Evangelista, Academic Support, Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center.

50 Years

      • Larry Kimura, Associate Professor of Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies.
Larry Kimura pictured
Larry Kimura has served at UH Hilo for 50 years. (Claudia Hagan/UH Hilo Stories)