UH President Lassner visits UH Hilo, talks about the future at community meeting

The president spoke about key initiatives and the future of the university. Top on his list was the Graduation Initiative.

By Lara Hughes.

David Lassner
David Lassner

University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner recently visited the UH Hilo campus. A public meeting was held on Oct. 28, where the president talked about the future of the university and answered questions. He also met with campus groups and constituencies during his stay.

Topics Lassner discussed at the public meeting included the UH Strategic Directions 2015-2021 (which outlines the Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative, Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative, 21st Century Facilities, and a High Performance Mission-Driven System), improving public relations, and a recently passed resolution by the UH Board of Regents (BOR) Supporting a Systemwide Strategic Academic and Facilities Plan.

Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative

President Lassner later said in response to an email inquiry that he feels the Hawai‘i Graduation Initiative was one of the most important topics discussed at the meeting. He said it places a high level of priority on educating more students for success in their communities by increasing participation and completion, especially of Native Hawaiian students, low-income students, and those from underserved regions and populations.

The initiative also outlines a series of strategic actions to be followed in order to strengthen the educational system as a whole, beginning with grades K-12 and expanding up through the university level.

Public relations

President Lassner speaking to group.
President Lassner speaks at community meeting at UH Hilo on Oct. 28. Photo by Siobhan Cogan/University Relations.

When asked at the meeting about the university’s stance on public relations and the media, Lassner replied, “We just have to be forthright and responsive on defense.”

The president went on to talk about how UH has improved pro-activeness with the media and pitching their good news stories.

Lassner posed these questions to himself and the audience, asking, “How do we change our image in the community? How do we reach people more directly?”

He expressed interest in social media and the possibility of a public relations component in the State Budget.

Systemwide Strategic Academic and Facilities Plan

Of the recent BOR resolution, Supporting a Systemwide Strategic Academic and Facilities Plan, Lassner said, “The really interesting question is, what process will we use?”

He emphasized the importance of designing a method that is inclusive and works with the neighbor islands and their campuses. The plan requests that UH administration develop an integrated plan, which would highlight each campus’s unique mission and resources while increasing collaboration and advancing the higher education goals of the state.

Committed to the campus

Of his visit, Lassner said in an email, “I enjoyed my day meeting with multiple UH Hilo groups and constituencies. Everyone is committed to the campus and to supporting improvements that will help us all do better.”


About the author of this story: Lara Hughes is a junior at UH Hilo majoring in business administration. She is a public information intern in the Office of the Chancellor. 

-UH Hilo Stories