Parker Ranch executive to keynote spring commencement

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Date: Monday, May 5, 2014
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo will be joined by Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, president and CEO of Parker Ranch Inc. and Paniolo Power Company, as keynote speaker at spring commencement on Saturday, May 17 at 9 a.m. at Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium.

Students have petitioned for a total of 724 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (422), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (33), Business and Economics (39), Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (42), and Pharmacy (160), while 28 others are candidates for various post graduate honors.

Born and raised on O`ahu, Kuyper graduated from Punahou School. He earned his undergraduate degree from Occidental College and a graduate degree in business from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

Kuyper was named to his current position in 2011 after more than 20 years as a senior executive on the mainland and in Asia. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer with Capricorn Investment Group in Palo Alto, California, and held the same position with Morgan Creek Capital Management following extensive experience with Wellington Management, Boston Consulting Group, and Coopers & Lybrand.

In his present capacity, Kuyper oversees a 130,000-acre cattle operation that produces 10 million pounds of beef per year. He is also responsible for carrying out the legacy and vision of the late Parker Ranch heir Richard Smart in addition to fulfilling the responsibility to the Trust’s beneficiaries and the Waimea community.

While cattle ranching remains a vital element, new and diverse industries are currently being developed. Kuyper sees Parker Ranch emerging as a leader in sustainability, which he believes is both “good policy and good business.”

His plans include transitioning much of the ranch’s beef production back to the island from the mainland. He is also advancing multiple wind and solar projects in addition to those which already produce enough energy to power its own water system. Among the proposals being studied is a plan to step up renewable energy development and install a micro-grid to reduce energy costs for the ranch as well as the Waimea and Kohala communities.

Dylon Koehn, a linguistics major, represents the graduating class as student speaker. Originally from Greeley, Colorado, Koehn transferred to UH Hilo two years ago. He has maintained a 3.52 GPA and made the Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language Dean’s List the past two semesters.

Koehn has shared his passion for learning with others by serving on the linguistics board for incoming freshman where he encourages new students to explore multiple academic paths to make the most of their educational experience.

Koehn’s post-graduate plans include spending six months to a year overseas, helping a non-profit or relief organization. He’s also considering applying to graduate school to earn a master`s in linguistics upon his return. His long-term goal is to become a translator or work full-time in a non-profit that could employ his language skills.

Among those receiving their degrees is Earl Harbin, who will complete a journey that began in 1957 when he graduates with a double major in Political Science and Administration of Justice. With his degrees, Harbin plans to continue his work in trauma literacy.

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