UH Hilo Chancellor Appointed to UH System VP Position

Donald StraneyDonald Straney named as UH System VP of Academic Planning and Policy UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney will move to a UH Systemwide leadership role as vice president of academic planning and policy, effective August 1, 2017. A national search for a permanent UH Hilo chancellor will begin in Fall 2017. During the transition, Marcia Sakai, UH Hilo vice chancellor for administrative affairs, will serve as interim UH Hilo chancellor. Both appointments are subject to Board of Regents approval at its July 20, 2017 meeting.

Straney has served as UH Hilo chancellor since 2010 and is credited with improving graduation rates and increasing the number of Native Hawaiian, STEM and transfer students from local community colleges. Under his leadership, the campus worked closely with local educational, agricultural and business communities to address economic, workforce and quality-of-life issues.

“Don has done an outstanding job at UH Hilo, and I know he will excel as our vice president of academic planning and policy, a position critical to the entire UH System as we continue to improve our collaborative efforts to meet the needs of the entire State,” said UH President David Lassner. “Don has 38 years of proven higher education experience on campuses and within systems, including here in Hawaiʻi.”

Marcia SakaiMarcia Sakai named as Interim UH Hilo Chancellor Dr. Sakai joined the UH Hilo faculty in 1991 after distinguished public service to the

State and was promoted and tenured there. She was the Founding Dean of the College of Business and Economics, leading the College through its initial AACSB accreditation, and has brought her experience and ability to bear in serving as Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs since 2011.

“Marcia has been a highly successful faculty member, dean and senior administrator at UH Hilo,” said Lassner. “She truly understands and appreciates the University, its mission and its importance to Hilo, Hawai‘i Island and the State.”

Straney is replacing Risa Dickson as vice president of academic planning and policy. Dickson notified UH leadership in fall 2016 of her intention to return to faculty at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year and the 2017 legislative session. She is assisting during the transition period.

“Risa has laid a solid foundation that will allow us to move the University into the 21st century,” said Lassner. “She has accomplished so much in her time here at UH, and we thank her for all of her hard work, which will have a long-lasting impact on the University.”

A Message From Don Straney

Aloha UH Hilo ʻohana,

It has been my great honor to have served as chancellor for this campus for the past seven years. I am stepping down as chancellor of the University of Hawai'i at Hilo. Effective August 1st, I will be taking a position at the University of Hawai'i System as Vice President of Academic Planning and Policy, subject to Board of Regents approval.

An open search for our next permanent chancellor will begin in Fall 2017. Vice Chancellor Marcia Sakai will be appointed Interim Chancellor of UH Hilo by UH President David Lassner, subject to Board of Regents approval. Dr. Sakai joined the UH Hilo faculty in 1991. She was the Founding Dean of the College of Business and Economics, leading the College through its initial AACSB accreditation which made UH Hilo's CoBE just one of 579 institutions worldwide, at that time, with such accreditation. She brought her experience and ability to bear in serving as Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs since 2011.

She is eminently qualified to lead our campus during this interim period, and I ask everyone to support her and to continue to do the great work that you are doing day in and day out.

After seven years at UH Hilo, please know that this was an extremely difficult decision. My time here in Hilo has been such a rewarding professional experience. UH Hilo is an amazing institution that provides invaluable service to our community, our island, our state and beyond. The campus welcomed me with open arms and I enjoyed remarkable warmth and acceptance from total strangers, who quickly became great friends. The aloha spirit is real and it is alive and well on our island.

Though I will be working for the UH System, please know that my commitment to and appreciation of UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Island remain strong.

It was my privilege to serve in this special place, with so many dedicated and passionate faculty and staff. I want to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to our campus and community.

Mahalo nui loa for your years of support,

Don Straney's signature
Don Straney