UH Hilo’s virtual Spring Commencement is May 15

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Date: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo invites the public to its virtual 2021 Spring Commencement, to be held Saturday, May 15, beginning at 9 a.m. The pre-recorded ceremony can be viewed on the UH Hilo Commencement webpage at: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/commencement/. There will also be a drive-through opportunity for graduates only, which will be livestreamed beginning at 10 a.m. The livestream will also be available at: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/commencement/.

Approximately 571 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.

The pre-recorded video includes a congratulatory message from Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin along with name cards that include pictures and messages from graduates. Also included are messages from keynote speaker Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi and three student speakers, who the selection committee voted “all exceptional.”

Tsutsumi, UH Hilo professor of entomology, specializes in honey bees in Hawaiʻi and developed and runs the UH Hilo apiary and bee garden, teaches about bees and beekeeping, and produces practical knowledge and scientific literature about honey bees that benefit local beekeepers. In addition to her research and teaching, she also has developed and marketed value-added bee products made from the honey and wax extracted by beekeeping students from the bee hives at the UH Hilo Ag Farm in Pana`ewa. Monies generated from sales help support UH students.

In 2011, Tsutsumi teamed up with Chef Alan Wong to launch the Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong program to raise awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and to promote solutions to sustaining the local honey bee industry. In 2012, the program was recognized by the Hawaiʻi State Senate for its local and global contributions to the understanding of the importance of honey bees.

Tsutsumi was awarded the 2012 Koichi and Taniyo Taniguchi Award for Excellence and Innovation, the 2010 Chancellor’s Pūlama ʻIke Award recognizing significant contributions to the mission of UH Hilo, the 2008 Distinguished Service Award for Improving Student Life, and the 1988 Board of Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching.

The student speakers include Eric Tejada, Kiaria Zoi Nakamura, and Nina Sabahi.

Tejada is a Business Administration major who has received multiple College of Business and Economics Dean’s List recognition. He also is the recipient of several scholarships, including the CoBE Scholarship.

Tejada works with the UH Hilo First-Year Experience Program as a student office manager. He is also a member of the Lambda Psi Delta Sigma Pi professional business fraternity where he served as vice president of community service in 2020. He will continue to explore the financial industry with HFS Federal Credit Union, and aspires to pursue his Master of Arts in Teaching at UH Hilo.

Nakamura is a lifelong Buddhist with a passion for writing and a love for the stage. Between balancing four part-time jobs and being a full-time student, she spends her free time planning future travel plans, singing karaoke with friends, and binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Nakamura is graduating with a degree in English, minor in Performing Arts, and two certificates in Educational Studies and Creative Writing. Some of her proudest moments at UH Hilo include receiving the Presidential Award, choreographing for the Performing Arts Center’s Hawaiian Nutcracker, and making a presentation at the 2021 Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium. Her future plan includes a career in higher education.

Sabahi is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She is an active member of the Student Arts Association, having served as Treasurer, Vice President, and President. She is passionate about communication and uses her skills to volunteer for the Ku`ikahi Mediation Center as a mediator, and at the Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor. She intends to go to graduate school to ultimately practice psychiatry.

For more information, see the UH Hilo Commencement webpage at: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/commencement/.


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