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History-making business leader to headline fall commencement

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Date: Monday, December 7, 2015
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

Sherry Menor-McNamara, the youngest and first female President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaiʻi, delivers the keynote address at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo fall commencement, to be held on Saturday, December 19, at 9 a.m. in Vulcan Gymnasium.

Students have petitioned for a total of 290 degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (217), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (24), Business and Economics (31), Pharmacy (1), and Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (8), while nine others are candidates for various post-graduate honors.

Menor-McNamara was born in Tokyo, Japan, raised in Hilo, and graduated from Waiakea High School. Her history-making appointment as head of the 164-year-old Chamber came in September 2013 after serving as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. She joined the organization in 2006 as Director of Business Advocacy and was promoted to Vice President of Business Advocacy and Government Affairs the following year.

She previously served as events manager for ESPN Sports’ Sheraton Hawaiʻi Bowl and is a member of the event’s Executive Committee. Menor-McNamara has worked for various companies across the globe, including Sony Corporation and Sony Pictures Entertainment, Estee Lauder, Field Group, Elton John Production and the CBS News magazine “60 Minutes.” Her political experience includes positions with the State Legislature, former U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and the Executive Office of the President.

Menor-McNamara earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California at Los Angeles, a juris doctorate from the William S. Richardson School of Law, and MBA from the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. She was awarded a certificate in Expanding Impact in Advocacy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Executive Education and pursued graduate study in public administration at the University of Southern California.

Zachary Tman, an Anthropology and Cell and Molecular Biology major, who is also pursuing a minor in Chemistry, represents the graduating class as student speaker.

Tman, a native of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, has maintained a cumulative 3.62 grade point average since coming to UH Hilo in Fall 2010. His academic achievements have earned him numerous honors, including the Yap State and FSM National Scholarships, which he has held since his freshman year. He has also been an Asian Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund Scholar since 2013.

His community activities have focused on efforts to combat the high rate of suicide among Hawaiʻi’s youth. He’s served as a student representative for the New York-based JED Foundation since 2014, working on special projects involving mental health awareness, suicide prevention, and young adult health on both the local and national level. Tman also serves as a member of the Big Island’s Youth Leadership Council for Suicide Prevention.

Tman’s campus work has been two-fold, beginning with his scientific research work in the Natural Sciences Department. He has been working with Dr. Norbert Furumo on designing a Biotechnology lab course, which he hopes will eventually lead to a Biotechnology degree program. Next spring, he’ll be assisting Dr. Misaki Takabayashi in her research on coral bleaching.

His post-graduation plans include a trip this summer to Heidelberg, Germany to work at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory before joining Takabayashi on her coral bleaching research.

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