UH Hilo Leadership
On this page:
- Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
- Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs
- Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
- Interim Director of University Relations
- Deans and Directors of the Colleges
- UH Hilo Student Association
Bonnie D. Irwin began serving as chancellor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on July 1, 2019. Chancellor Irwin previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University Monterey Bay. While at CSU, she served on the Regional Engagement and Research Council of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and on the Board of Directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans. She is currently a National Collegiate Honors Council Fellow. Previously, Irwin served as dean of the Honors College and then dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Eastern Illinois University. While there, she served on the board of the National Collegiate Honors Council, also serving as president of the organization. She started at Eastern Illinois University as a tenure-track professor of English specializing in world literature and folklore before moving into administration. Irwin received her master of arts in comparative literature and her doctor of philosophy in comparative literature from UC Berkeley.
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, PhD
Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; Associate Professor, Hawaiian Studies
Associate Professor of Hawaiian and Hawaiian Studies Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a was appointed interim vice chancellor for academic affairs in August 2023. Previously, she served as director of UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language since 2013 where she oversaw the completion of Haleʻōlelo, the permanent home for the college, and championed program improvement and outreach in Hawaiian language and culture, linguistics, immersion and mauli ola education for P-20 students. She arrived at UH Hilo in 2003 and is founding director of the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program, past director of Hale Kuamo‘o Hawaiian Language and Culture Center, and a founding partner of Ulukau, Hawaiʻi’s Digital Electronic Library. She holds a bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies and a master of education in curriculum and instruction from UH Mānoa, and doctor of philosophy in Indigenous education from Union Institute and University, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs
Kalei Rapoza was appointed vice chancellor for administrative affairs in July 2023. Rapoza previously served as UH Hilo interim director of strategic initiatives and government affairs, a position he held since January 2023 representing the chancellor and other senior officials to the university community, directing legislative issues and proposals, and overseeing campus-level legal reviews. Prior to that, he was UH Hilo interim vice chancellor for administrative affairs from 2017 to 2022, director of human resources from 2016 to 2017, and associate director of human resources from 2013 to 2016. Before joining UH Hilo, Rapoza was a personnel specialist for labor relations with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education from 2008 to 2013. He received his bachelor of science in family resources from UH Mānoa and his juris doctor from UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Dr. Christopher “Chris” Holland (he/him)
Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Christopher Holland is UH Hilo’s interim vice chancellor for student affairs. He was appointed in September 2022 having previously served as associate vice chancellor for student affairs since 2020. Before coming to UH Hilo, he served as assistant dean and chief housing officer at George Mason University, vice president of student services at Florida State College, and dean of students at College of St. Joseph, Brevard College, and Purchase College. He holds a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Alabama.
Interim Director of University Relations
Interim Director, University Relations; Director, Media Relations
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong was appointed acting director of the Office of University Relations in January 2019 and interim director in February of 2019. Since 1988, Kakugawa-Leong has served as a public information officer and director of media relations. She is responsible for media relations, communications, and public relations and is the campus-wide lead for media releases, news conferences, media inquiries, and internal communications at UH Hilo.
Deans and Directors of the Colleges
College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management
Director; Professor, Horticulture
Professor of Horticulture Norman Arancon was appointed director of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management in July 2023 in a newly defined role at the college. He arrived at UH Hilo in 2008, and in addition to teaching horticulture and other agricultural topics, he has done pioneering research in soil ecology. He attended Xavier University for his undergraduate degree, received his post-graduate degree in agricultural studies in Australia at the University of Queensland, and his master of science in environmental sciences and his doctor of philosophy in environmental sciences from Ohio State University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar from 1997 to 2000.
College of Arts and Sciences
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor of History
Professor of History Michael Bitter was named permanent dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in January of 2023 after serving as interim dean beginning in June 2017. Bitter came to UH Hilo as an assistant professor in 1999 and taught in the Department of History for over 17 years. During that time, he served as chair of the history department, faculty representative for social sciences at the UH Professional Assembly, chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate, and general education committee chair for the UH Hilo Faculty Congress. He is actively engaged in promoting the expansion of college programs and collaborating with the Center for Global Education and Exchange to increase exchange opportunities for UH Hilo students to study at partner universities, both nationally and internationally. Bitter received his doctor of philosophy in European history with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
College of Business and Economics
Associate Professor of Management Todd Inouye was appointed director of the business college in November of 2022, and became permanent director in January 2023 in a newly defined role with the responsibilities of a department chair and a dean who works closely with other college leadership. Inouye joined UH Hilo in the fall of 2019 from Niagara University in New York. His area of expertise is in competitive context and firm-level strategy of small to medium-sized enterprises. Inouye holds a bachelor of arts in psychology (2002), an executive master of business administration (2007), and a doctor of philosophy in business administration (2016), all from UH Mānoa. He also has a master of science in sport management (2020) from Niagara University.
College of Natural and Health Sciences
Dean, College of Natural and Health Sciences
Simon Kattenhorn was named permanent dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences in August 2023. Previously, he served as associate dean at the College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage. His research portfolio includes 20 competitive federal grants, 45 peer-reviewed journal articles as primary or co-author, and 184 conference abstracts. He has taught 65 course sections and has mentored 26 graduate students and 11 undergraduate students in research projects. He is a member of various professional organizations, including as a fellow at the Geological Society of America. He received bachelor of science and master of science degrees from University of Natal, Durban, South Africa; a master of science in geology from University of Akron; and a doctor of philosophy in geological and environmental sciences from Stanford University.
Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language
Director, Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani; Executive Director, ʻImiloa
Kaʻiu Kimura, executive director at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, was named director of Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language in August of 2023. She has been a lecturer at the college, serves on the leadership team, and has developed Hawaiian language curriculum offered to Hawaiʻi’s business and tourism industries. Previously, she worked at the non-profit ‘Aha Pūnana Leo advancing Hawaiian language and culture as well as outreach programs to Native American communities and international Indigenous groups. She was a Pacific Century Fellow, a Center for Advancing Informal Science Education Fellow, and an inaugural Omidyar Fellow. She received her bachelor of arts and master of arts in Hawaiian language and literature from UH Hilo and is currently a candidate in the university’s Indigenous language revitalization doctoral program.
Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy
Miriam A Mobley Smith, PharmD, FASHP
Miriam Mobley Smith is interim dean of the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy. She joined the college in February of 2022. Previously, she served as interim dean and visiting professor for Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Before that she was dean and professor at the Chicago State University College of Pharmacy and then director of strategic alliances for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.
UH Hilo Student Association
Visit the UHHSA website for student senate memberships.