UH Hilo Chancellor Irwin to provide keynote address at Fall Commencement

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Date: Thursday, December 12, 2019
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin delivers the keynote address at the 2019 University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Fall Commencement Saturday, December 21, 9 a.m., in Vulcan Gym. The public is reminded that doors open at 8:15 a.m. for general admission, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. When seating reaches capacity, guests may view the ceremony via live stream in University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100.

Approximately 170 students have petitioned for degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Natural and Health Sciences, Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, Business and Economics, Pharmacy, Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, and for various post-graduate credentials.

Irwin has been a leader in higher education for over 20 years, and has served as chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo since July 2019. Previous to that she served as provost at California State University Monterey Bay and held two deanships at Eastern Illinois University.

Irwin has long been a champion of providing meaningful opportunities and pathways to success for all students in higher education. This work has led her to build and nurture partnerships between community colleges and universities and to create opportunities for students to study abroad, participate in research and community service, and learn how to thrive in a diverse and challenging world. She is sought out as a mentor by other higher education professionals and was named one of the inaugural fellows of the National Collegiate Honors Council in 2010.

Irwin earned her bachelor of arts, master of arts, and doctor of philosophy in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

Representing the graduating class as student speaker is Gabriela Lawlor.

Born in Phoenix, AZ, Lawlor accepted a tennis scholarship to play for the UH Hilo Vulcans. She is majoring in political science because of her strong passion for international relations and human rights. Later this year, she will be interning in Spain, working with the Spanish government.

Lawlor plans to run for political office one day and attributes her passion for peace and love to her family: dad (Ken), mama (LeeAnn), brother (Maximo), and all of her international teammates who are now her family.

She will continue her education at UH Hilo to pursue a kinesiology degree while competing on the Vulcan tennis team.

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