Schatz to keynote UH Hilo spring commencement

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Date: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz delivers the keynote address at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo spring commencement, scheduled for Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m. at the Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium.

Students have petitioned for a total of 727 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (464), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (29), Business and Economics (38), Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke`elikõlani College of Hawaiian Language (40), and Pharmacy (88), while 32 others are candidates for various post graduate honors and another 36 for the Teacher Education Program certificate.

Schatz, who was raised in Hawaiʻi and attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA, was inaugurated as the state’s 11th Lieutenant Governor on December 6, 2010. During his first year in office, Schatz played a leading role in preparing for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in which 21 delegations met to discuss the future of Asia-Pacific economies. He has also launched the Hawai'i Fair Share Initiative, which seeks more private and public investment in Hawai'i. Following the 2011 Pacific tsunami, Schatz helped lead local recovery efforts, including providing $8 million in aid to disaster victims in Japan. He is currently tasked by Governor Neil Abercrombie with helping lead the state’s clean energy efforts and Asia-Pacific relations.

Anthony Holzman-Escareno, an English major with a minor in philosophy, represents the Class of 2012 as its student speaker.

Holzman-Escareno, who has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.95, has earned a number of academic honors, including the Dean’s List for the College of Arts and Sciences, Droste English Scholarship, and has been published in the academic journal Hohonu.

His campus and community activities include more than three years with the student newspaper Ke Kalahea, where he has served as Editor-in-Chief and Sports Editor since Fall 2011.

Holzman-Escareno’s achievements are all the more remarkable given that he entered college with a troubled past and no high school diploma or GED. He passed the compass test to gain admission to Hawaiʻi Community College, and later transferred to UH Hilo, which he described as a place where dreams can be conceived and realized.

“I dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, was locked up in juvenile detention for robbery at the age of 17 and was a product of homelessness and the streets for four-and-a-half years,” Holzman-Escareno explained. “Yet here I am graduating from UH Hilo with honors on the way to attending law school in the fall.”

Holzman-Escareno says the caps and gowns his fellow graduates will don are a testament to their determination and will to succeed.

For more information on Commencement, contact Judith Fox-Goldstein at (808) 974-7555 or email For special accommodations, contact Susan Shirachi at (808) 933-0816 (V) or (808) 933-3334 (TTY).

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