Jul 122017

Marcia Sakai, UH Hilo vice chancellor for administrative affairs, will serve as interim UH Hilo chancellor.

Don Straney

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney will move to a UH System leadership role as vice president of academic planning and policy, effective Aug. 1, 2017. A national search for a permanent UH Hilo chancellor will begin in fall 2017. During the transition, Marcia Sakai, UH Hilo vice chancellor for administrative affairs, will serve as interim UH Hilo chancellor. Both appointments are subject to Board of Regents approval at its July 20, 2017 meeting.

Straney has served as UH Hilo chancellor since 2010 and is credited with improving graduation rates and increasing the number of Native Hawaiian, STEM and transfer students from local community colleges. Under his leadership, the campus worked closely with local educational, agricultural and business communities to address economic, workforce and quality-of-life issues.

“Don has done an outstanding job at UH Hilo, and I know he will excel as our vice president of academic planning and policy, a position critical to the entire UH System as we continue to improve our collaborative efforts to meet the needs of the entire state,” says UH President David Lassner. “Don has 38 years of proven higher education experience on campuses and within systems, including here in Hawaiʻi.”

Marcia Sakai

Sakai joined the UH Hilo faculty in 1991 after distinguished public service to the state and was promoted and tenured there. She was the founding dean of the College of Business and Economics, leading the college through its initial AACSB accreditation, and has brought her experience and ability to bear in serving as vice chancellor for administrative affairs since 2011.

“Marcia has been a highly successful faculty member, dean and senior administrator at UH Hilo,” says Lassner. “She truly understands and appreciates the university, its mission and its importance to Hilo, Hawai‘i Island and the state.”

Straney is replacing Risa Dickson as vice president of academic planning and policy. Dickson notified UH leadership in fall 2016 of her intention to return to faculty at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year and the 2017 legislative session. She is assisting during the transition period.

“Risa has laid a solid foundation that will allow us to move the university into the 21st century,” says Lassner. “She has accomplished so much in her time here at UH, and we thank her for all of her hard work, which will have a long-lasting impact on the university.”

Media release

Jun 212017

Countless UH students, faculty, staff and alumni served during the three-year voyage in myriad ways, as volunteers, navigators, captains and scientific researchers.

Amid the blowing of pū and the cheering of thousands gathered at Magic Island, the Hōkūleʻa sailed home in June 2017 after a three-year, 40,000-mile voyage around the world.

It was an event of deep significance to the University of Hawaiʻi ʻohana. Countless UH students, faculty, staff and alumni served the voyage in myriad ways, as volunteers, navigators, captains and scientific researchers.

At the homecoming, Polynesian Voyaging Society President Nainoa Thompson reiterated his assertion that UH is “hands down” the most important institution in the region.

“The University of Hawaiʻi is the most important navigator we have in the Pacific,” says Thompson. “It’s the most important navigator and it’s the most important waʻa. It’s the most important canoe that we have. It’s what can help us find our destinations that are worthy of our children that the other big institutions cannot.”

“The university has been instrumental in every part of this voyage,” says UH President David Lassner who also served as a crewmember. “Most obviously we are the homeport for the Hōkūleʻa, Hikianalia, Hawaiʻi Loa the Polynesian Voyaging Society. They are our partners and residents at our Marine Education Training Center at Sand Island, part of Honolulu Community College.”

Honolulu CC instructor Kaʻiulani Murphy served as lead navigator during Hōkūleʻa’s sail home from Tahiti. UH Hilo ʻImiloa Astronomy Center Navigator in Residence Chad Kālepa Baybayan has also captained numerous legs of the voyage.

Prior to undertaking the worldwide voyage, Thompson consulted with UH scientists from the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, Institute for Astronomy, oceanography department and more. “There were enormous amounts of research, […] we knew who to call,” he said.

Doctors at the John A. Burns School of Medicine made sure the crew was healthy enough to voyage and helped to keep them that way.

During the voyage, UH held systemwide gatherings at College Hill and UH Hilo to share information and commitments to Mālama Honua or “care for our Earth.”

One key commitment came from the UH Mānoa College of Education: teach the values of Mālama Honua to the future teachers studying in the college.

UH is one of more than a hundred educational partners who have signed the Promise to the Children, which says, in part, “…we promise to create, sustain and navigate a movement dedicated to future generations, one that is imbued with the goodness of Hōkūleʻa and the wisdom born of her legacy.”

“Twenty years from now, sustainability, I promise you, will be figured out,” says Thompson. “We will be on alternative energy 20 years from now. We will have figured out issues of food sovereignty to get off the 95 percent that we import. Itʻs a very dangerous situation that we have in Hawaiʻi and there’s no other institution that has the mandate and the mission and the power to do that.”

Read more UH News on Mālama Honua.


UH System News.

Jun 202017

UH Hilo researchers are using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) off the side of Stainback Road, one of the epicenters of the Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death infection.

Still from Video showing UAV

Click on image for video. UH Hilo geography professor Ryan Perroy explains his part in the research at 2:50.

Researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo are part of large collaborative effort to combat Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death, a fungal disease threatening to kill off the most important tree in Hawai‘i Island’s ecosystem.

With 75,000 acres of the island’s ʻōhiʻa forest now showing symptoms of the disease, federal and state agencies and non-profit partners are using an array of high technology to detect its spread.

Ryan Perroy, aloha shirt, glasses, smiling at camera.

Ryan Perroy

UH Hilo’s team of researchers is headed by Ryan Perroy, assistant professor of geography in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science. The team of researchers is using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) off the side of Stainback Road, one of the epicenters of the infection. The team spends about 25 percent of their time flying UAV for Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death mapping and detection.

The home base for the team is UH Hilo’s Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Laboratory.

Perroy says the UAV has been in use in the battle against Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death for about a year and a half.

“It’s very good for monitoring changes in the forest on an individual tree basis, because the resolution of the imagery is so fine that you can see individual leaves and branches,” Perroy explains.

That allows researchers not only to see changes over areas already infected by the fungus, but to detect suspected new cases. As valuable as the UAV imagery is, Perroy says it’s very difficult to fly over ʻōhiʻa forests every month and see the rapidity of tree decline.

“It’s not the best day when we come back and we see more and more trees down since the last time we flew,” he says. “Our efforts are one piece of the larger effort to better understand the disease and better protect our forests.”

All of the researchers and managers working to combat Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death agree that their collaborative efforts are about the only silver lining to what is a serious threat to Hawai‘i’s most important native tree. Ōhiʻa protect the state’s watersheds by providing a sponge-effect to allow rainwater to slowly seep into underground aquifers.  They also help prevent erosion and the spread of invasive species and they are very culturally significant and prized in lei making.

Read the full media release from the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources  to learn more about the many collaborative agencies working on the Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death project.

Also see article in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.

Jun 082017

Two outstanding students received telescope time on the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope to observe dark nebulae.

Students and faculty on the Maunakea Summit.

Students and faculty on the Maunakea Summit.

EVENT: Two Maunakea Scholars from Honokaʻa High School, Hokulani Sanchez and Keilani Steele, featured presenters, Maunakea Speaker Series.
DATE: June 15, 2017.
TIME: 7:00 p.m.
PLACE: Planetarium, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (campus map).

Free and open to the public.


These two outstanding students received telescope time on the Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope (CFHT) to observe dark nebulae and study the connection of star formations in the galaxy.

CFHT Director Doug Simons and Outreach Manager Mary Beth Laychak will round out the presentation with details about the past, present and future of this unique education program.

The Maunakea Scholars program, led by Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope (CFHT), is a partnership between the Maunakea Observatories, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and UH. This innovative program is designed to bring aspiring young astronomers into the observatory community by awarding observing time on world-class telescopes to Hawaiʻi high school students so they can pursue research of their own design and inspiration.

About the Maunakea Speaker Series

The Maunakea Speaker Series is a monthly scholar-focused presentation offered as a partnership among the Office of Maunakea Management, ʻImiloa Astronomy Center and the UH Hilo Department of Physics and Astronomy. The collaborative venture gives the community unprecedented access to fascinating research taking place on Maunakea and other topics unique to the island of Hawaiʻi. A venue for scholars to share their stories and learn from discussion, the series promotes understanding and collaboration across all sectors of the community, while addressing the goals of UH Hilo.

For more information visit The Office of Maunakea Management or call (808) 933-0734.


UH System News

May 262017

Logo with torches, orange on black ovalThe awards are presented to individual students and student organizations that have excelled and contributed to the UH Hilo campus and the Hawai‘i Island community.

The Campus Center Student Leadership Development Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo recently presented the 2016-2017 Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Recognition Awards and Certificates of Leadership.

The Ka Lama Ku Umeke Awards and a Ka Lama Ku Koa Plaque Award also were presented.


Alaka‘i—Leadership Award

Rebekah Loving with her family

Rebekah Loving with her family. Courtesy photos from the UH Hilo Student Leadership Development Program.

Rebekah Loving (Mathematics) has provided role modeling and mentorship as a volunteer at Waiakea High School where she has inspired high school students in the area of mathematics. As a volunteer, she shares new opportunities students may have in this area with learning, achievement, and connectedness to Science, Technology, Environment and Mathematics.


‘Ike Pāpālua—To Have the Gift of Vision Award

Amy Gregg & Elise Inouye

Amy Gregg (left), an instructor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Program, with award recipient Elise Inouye.

Elise Inouye (Communications and Gender and Women Studies) has a deep commitment to education. During spring break she volunteered to speak to high school students on O‘ahu about gender-based inequalities, class stratification and economic disenfranchisement. She has a vision of seeing gender and women studies curriculum in high schools to connect people for positive change for our future.


Laulima Award—No Task is Too Big When Done by All Award

Justin Kwee and Jake Llaguno

Justin Araki-Kwee (left) with friend Jake Llaguno.

Justin Araki-Kwee (Computer Science & Japanese Studies) received this award for his ability to collaborate with others in the development of a smartphone-based game application named Nanja Ninja designed to assist deaf children in Japan and the USA. Araki-Kwee coordinated technical and programming advice between Hawai‘i and Japan to launch this research project currently taking place in Japan.


The Ka Lama Ku Koa Plaque Award

Alexandra Huizar & Megan Escalona standing in front of logo with torches

Alexandra Huizar (left) with Megan Escalona.

Alexandra Huizar (College of Business and Economics, specializing in Marketing) was awarded for her commitment and dedication in being a student leader at UH Hilo that excels in all of the five values of Ka Lama Ku. As an Alaka‘i, she is a role model in her UH Hilo activities and collaboration with other university programs as part of ‘Ike Pāpālua. Some of these are with the New Student Programs, the Vulcan Booster, Colleges Against Cancer and Relay for Life, UH Hilo Performing Arts and other student life activities. Huizar encourages other students to participate and become part of the UH Hilo ‘ohana by “Leading with Aloha.”


Ka Lama Ku Leadership Plaque Awards
Given to student organizations for contributions to UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Island communities.
Awardees exemplify the five values of Ka Lama Ku: Alaka‘i, ‘Ike Pāpālua, Kuleana, Laulima and Mālama.

Photo of group, each person holding up certificates they just received.

The student organization Colleges Against Cancer won the ‘Ike Pāpālua Award. (Front l-r) Misty Figuera, Brittney Luna, Alexandra Huizar, Kapali Bilyeu. (Back) Kimi Taguchi, Brooke Higa, Ashley Maldonado, Jualin Sable Guting. (Missing) Kash Laeda, Ali Nakata, Norie Anne Rosal Calit, Jade Wong, Ruby Ann Sales, Ellie-Jean Kalawe, James Drescher, Sheryl Cariaga, Jayahmie Drio, Shaylyn Fujii, Erin McClure and Stacy Mae Gelacio.

Colleges Against Cancer received the ‘Ike Pāpālua Plaque Award—To Have the Gift of Vision for overcoming obstacles and challenges in the continuance of the 11th Relay for Life at UH Hilo. The students were able to plan, build, problem solve and look beyond what was needed to motivate others in moving forward from beginning to completion with advocacy against cancer that has affected many UH Hilo students, families and communities. As a fundraiser with the American Cancer Society, this organization vowed to fight cancer with the vision that cancer will no longer be a public health problem in the future. Team members are Alexandra Huizar, Brittney Luna, Ashley Maldonado, Kapali Bilyeu, Kash Laeda, Ali Nakata, Brooke Higa, Kimi Taguchi, Norie Anne Rosal Calit, Jade Wong, Misty Figuera, Jualin Sable Guting, Ruby Ann Sales, Ellie-Jean Kalawe, James Drescher, Sheryl Cariaga, Jayahmie Drio, Shaylyn Fujii, Erin McClure and Stacy Mae Gelacio.

The students of Nā Haumāna Huaka‘i i Kaho‘olawe, some holding certificates they just received.

The students of Nā Haumāna Huaka‘i i Kaho‘olawe. (Front l-r) Sarah Kapalihiwa Bilyeu and Joshua No‘eau Kalima. (Back) Kumu Maikalani Bacling and Ka‘ikena Scanlan with Isaac Ku‘uiponohea Pang, Sophie Kaleimomi Dolera, Sheena Kau‘i Lopes. (Missing) Alana Kanahele, Aaron Kahea Morton, Ulupuamahinamaikalani Peleiholani-Blankenfeld and Kiliona Young.

The students of Nā Haumāna Huaka‘i i Kaho‘olawe traveled to the island of Kaho‘olawe during spring break by preparing themselves with networking and having multiple orientations with the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana where they learned proper protocol for their journey. The students committed themselves mentally, physically and spiritually through protocol, daily usage of Hawaiian language, and to nurture the environment and elements as Alaka‘i. Part of their Kuleana was clearing invasive grass areas and debris on the shore, restoring pathways from erosion and researching wahi pani (sacred sites). The group developed a presentation at the ‘Aha Haumana Native Hawaiian Student Leadership Conference and inspired other students to become leaders in their communities and across the ocean. Members are Sarah Kapalihiwa Bilyeu, Sophie Kaleimomi Dolera, Joshua No‘eau Kalima, Alana Kanahele, Sheena Kau‘i Lopes, Aaron Kahea Morton, Isaac Ku‘uiponohea Pang, Ulupuamahinamaikalani Peleiholani-Blankenfeld and Kiliona Young.


The Ka Lama Ku Certificate of Leadership Awards

The Alaka‘i Certificate—Leadership was awarded to Kalaiakea Blakemore (Art) for taking a lead role with the Student Art Association and the art of printmaking as a jury member with several art exhibitions.

The Kuleana Certificate—We are Accountable and Responsible was awarded to Bennjamin Siemers (Kinesiology Education) with dedication and accountability in Therapeutic Sciences and community outreach with his internship at the North Hawai‘i Community Hospital.

The 2016-2017 Psychology and Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences (PSY-KES) Peer Advising Team received this award for having the ability to recognize the roles they have with peer academic advising toward student success and being active with campus outreach. Members are Alia Alvarez, Cheyrub Cabarloc, Zach Gorski, Keian Shon, Julie Tom, Leahi Akao, Chelsea Mitsuda, Froile Queja, Kaylee Rapoza, Bennjamin Siemers, Roget Chan, Jamie Ouye and Gabriella Sanchez.

Claire Akau & Lara Hughes

Nominator Claire Akau (left) with award recipient Lara Hughes.

The ‘Ike Pāpālua Certificate—To Have the Gift of Vision was awarded to Lara Hughes (College of Business and Economics with a focus on Business Administration) for her volunteerism as a writer and with the Big Island Press Club’s vision to advance student efforts with their goals for the future.

Students from the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences graduate program Erin Busch, Kailey Pascoe, Keolohilani Lopes, Jessica Kirkpatrick, and Rose Hart won the the Mālama ‘Āina Award. Also pictured is alumnus Nathan Stevenson who was involved in planning this year’s TCBES Symposium. Courtesy photo from TCBES program.

The Mālama ‘Āina Certificate—Taking Care of the Land and Environment was awarded to a group of students from the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Sciences graduate program for their environmental outreach and research in many areas that impact island and global communities and their teamwork at the TCBES Symposium. The students are Erin Busch, Keolohilani Lopes Jr, Kailey Pascoe, Rose Hart and Jessica Kirkpatrick.

The Mālama ‘Ohana—Taking Care of our Families was awarded to Kanani Daley (Art) for embracing her world of art through a native viewpoint and inspiring other artists to share their work in the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center.



The recognition ceremony was sponsored by the UH Hilo Campus Center Fee Board, the Ka Lama Ku Student Leadership Program and Student Advisory Council, the Student Activities Council, University Radio Hilo and Vulcan Video Productions, Ke Kalahea and the Division of Student Affairs.

May 232017

Grady Weyenberg, PhD, an alum of Waiakeawaena, Waiakea Intermediate and Waiakea High School, returns to the island after gaining cutting edge skills that he will now teach to local students.

Grady Weyenberg

Grady Weyenberg

A new data science program is being created at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and its first faculty hire—a statistical researcher fresh from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom—grew up on Hawaiʻi Island.

Grady Weyenberg will start his new position on Aug. 1 and is the first of four tenure-track assistant professors UH Hilo will hire in mathematics, computer science and the natural and social sciences by late 2019 to create the new program. While teaching courses and mentoring students, the new hires will work with existing faculty to develop a data science certificate program, followed by a baccalaureate degree.

Weyenberg was born on Maui, but came to Hilo at an early age and attended Waiakeawaena, Waiakea Intermediate and Waiakea High School before relocating to Arizona for his final two years of high school. He received his bachelor of science in mathematics and bachelor of science in physics from the University of Arizona-Tucson, and his master of science in statistics and doctor of philosophy in statistics from the University of Kentucky-Lexington.

He’ll be arriving at UH Hilo fresh from his current work as a research assistant in the Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. He previously taught various statistics courses and held related research appointments at the University of Kentucky.

Weyenberg has co-authored several studies on statistical methods for analyzing the evolutionary relationships between organisms, which were published in Bioinformatics and Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. His research projects in Bristol include studies of the genetic diversity and structure of the British Isles and Europe.

ʻIke Wai

The new data science program is funded through UH Hilo’s participation in the $20 million ʻIke Wai project awarded to the state last year by the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), a statewide initiative funded by the National Science Foundation.

The ‘Ike Wai project will provide data and models that address the grand challenge of water sustainability. A diverse workforce of data scientists and water researchers will work in concert with the community, government and business to inform decision makers with high-quality data and predictive capacity. The project incorporates indigenous and local communities, and its robust, inclusive and diverse human capital pipeline of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty will address water challenges at the academic and policy level.

UH Hilo students enrolled in the new data science program will analyze data sets generated by the ʻIke Wai project’s five-year study to create a data-driven, sustainable water future for the state of Hawaiʻi and its Pacific neighbors and those from previous EPSCoR-funded projects. Students will hone their data analysis skills by supporting the university’s active research faculty whose projects generate large amounts of data.


Media release

May 192017

The recipients are two graduate students and two undergraduates pursuing degrees at UH Hilo.

Nicole Garcia, Heather Ah Cook, and Katherine S. Post standing with lei, ocean in background.

UUAW 2017 scholarship winners (l-r) Nicole Garcia (Heritage Management), Heather Ah Cook (PharmD), and Katherine Post (PharmD). Not pictured: Jamae Valdez Balagot (Biology). Courtesy photo AAUW, click to enlarge.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Hilo Branch announced it has granted scholarships to four outstanding women attending the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The AAUW, an organization that empowers girls and women on multiple fronts from education and advocacy to leadership and legislation, annually awards $4,000 in scholarships to UH Hilo graduate and undergraduate students.

This year’s recipients:

Heather Ah Cook

Heather Ah Cook is a graduate student in the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Her graduation from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is expected in May 2020. Cook is interested in the health field because of her family history—her great grandmother was a “kahuna” (expert) and made several herbal medicines to help the Native Hawaiian community. She wants to use the knowledge and discipline given by her elders to help her community.

Nicole Garcia

Nicole Garcia is a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Heritage Management program (Department of Anthropology). Garcia quotes in her personal statement, “To me, anthropology is the path to understanding how humans have learned from and contributed to the condition of the world today and how they (we) will frame the future.” Her special interest is the history of the paniolos (cowboys) and the north coast of Hāmākua.

Katherine Post

Katherine Post is a graduate student in the PharmD program. Her graduation from the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is expected in May 2018.  Ever since she was young, Post wanted to have a career in the medical field. She wants to be a pharmacist who works with patients to heal and recover. She herself has faced a shocking diagnosis and her journey has helped her gain empathy toward others. She is an active member in her cancer support group, Malama Ka Pili Pa‘a, which currently does a lot in the Hilo community.

Jamae Valdez Balagot

Jamae Valdez Balagot is an undergraduate student majoring in Biology with a specialization in molecular and cellular biology. When she came to Hawai‘i she didn’t know a word of English. She feels very blessed because she had the opportunity to come to Hawai‘i and experience a whole new life and have a better education system compared to the school in her hometown back in the Philippines. She aspires to be a pediatrician.

Group standing together, ocean in background.

THe AAUW Scholarship Committee stands with the scholarship recipients at a luncheon held in their honor in early May, Hilo Yacht Club. Courtesy photo AAUW.


Brooke Hansen

May 182017

“The Dorrance Scholarship has become a model for providing educational opportunities to first-generation college students.” — Chancellor Straney.

Words "Dorrance Scholarship Programs" against an orange background.Ten high school seniors from Hawaiʻi Island who are enrolling this fall at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo have each been awarded the Dorrance Scholarship.

“The Dorrance Scholarship has become a model for providing educational opportunities to first-generation college students,” says Don Straney, UH Hilo chancellor. “(The Dorrances’) gift helps us to address that need, which is a core part of UH Hilo’s mission.”

The 2017 Dorrance Scholarship recipients and their high schools are:

  • Jeffrey Cushing, Kealakehe High School.
  • Stephanie Lewis, Kohala High School.
  • Jaylyn Mahoe-Subica, Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School.
  • Nicole Garza, Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi.
  • Kamamaluwaiwai Wichimai, Kamehameha Schools-Hawaiʻi.
  • Chayna Yoshida, Keaʻau High School.
  • Joy Boswell, Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Science.
  • Emme Furuya, Hilo High School.
  • Tharin Lewi-Ohashi, Konawaena High School.
  • Alanna Pabre, Konawaena High School.

The Dorrance Scholarship was established by Bennett and Jacquie Dorrance at the Arizona Community Foundation in June 1999. The innovative, four-year, need-based award provides local students who are the first in their family to attend college, up to $10,000 a year in direct financial assistance. Recipients will also participate in a custom-designed summer bridge program, international travel, conservation experience, an entrepreneurship program and employment preparation, bringing the total estimated value of each award to more than $90,000.

The Dorrance Foundation began offering up to 10 scholarships a year to Hawaiʻi Island high school graduates attending UH Hilo in 2012. The latest awards bring the total number of recipients to 59.


Mathew Estrada, program coordinator, Dorrance Scholarship Programs, at mestrada[at] or (808) 339-4500.


Media release

May 182017

Chancellor’s Scholars maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and community service.

UH Hilo seal, red lettering "University of Hawaii at Hilo" and state motto "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono." Stylized flame and book at center, longitude and latitude lines that represent a global connection, with the date 1907.Thirteen students from Hawaiʻi’s public and private high schools have been awarded the prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship by the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

The 2017-2018 recipients and their respective high schools include:

  • Hailey Briseno, Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy
  • Kekamamakoaakaʻilihou Caceres, Kamehameha–Kapālama
  • Scott Dakofsky, Roosevelt High School
  • Ariana Dolan, Pearl City High School
  • Skyla Elder, Honokaʻa High School
  • Kaitlyn Evans, Kamehameha–Maui
  • Preslyn Kaanaana, Kamehameha–Kapālama
  • Polina Kozinskiy, Laupahoehoe PCS
  • Sophia Smith, Hawaiʻi Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Jaron Sugimoto, Waipahu High School
  • Naneaikealau Thomas, Kamehameha–Hawaiʻi
  • Vanessa Watkins, Waiakea High School
  • Kamamaluwaiwai Wichimai, Kamehameha–Hawaiʻi

The award, valued in excess of $28,000, covers four years of tuition for students graduating from a Hawaiʻi high school who earned either a grade point average of at least 3.5, a combined 1800 SAT (reading, writing, math) or a composite score of 27 on the ACT while demonstrating leadership and/or community service.

Chancellor’s Scholars are required to enroll as full-time students and earn a minimum of 24 credits each academic year. They must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and/or community service with other Chancellor’s Scholars.


Media release

May 172017

A milestone this commencement: The university celebrates the first candidates from the new Master of Arts in Heritage Management program.

A milestone took place at the 2017 Spring Commencement at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo: the university graduated its first candidates for a master of arts in heritage management.

The program’s first graduates are among candidates who petitioned for degrees and/or certificates from the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (28); College of Arts and Sciences (591); College of Business and Economics (52); College of Pharmacy (153); and Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language (40); and for various post-graduate honors (25).

President Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr, of the Republic of Palau delivered the keynote address. Karla Kapo‘aiola Ahn, a performing arts major, was student speaker.

Ceremonies were held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Edith Kanaka‘ole Stadium.

Photos by Bob Douglas, click to enlarge.



Graduate waves to family and friends in the stands as she files in.

Candidate waves to family and friends in the stands as she enters the venue to take her seat.


Opening, Faculty Awards, and Speakers

Alexander Nagurney, instructor of psychology, is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Alexander Nagurney, instructor of psychology, is this year’s recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Conferring of Baccalaureate Degrees

Candidate with degree cover

Big smiles all around as students commence their new life with degree in hand.


Mortarboard Communications


Hooding Ceremonies

Candidate receives hood for graduate degree.

Prof. of Anthropology Peter Mills (right) bestows candidate with hood for master of arts in heritage management. This commencement marked the first cohort to graduate from the new UH Hilo program.


Closing of Ceremonies


Graduates with Friends and Family



About the photographer: Bob Douglas is a local artist, photographer, and sometimes part-time student who volunteers his photography skills to the Office of the Chancellor and UH Hilo Stories. 

-UH Hilo Stories