Author Archives: sldodo

Mountain West Conference meeting

Mountain West

MWC President Tony Frank (Colorado State), me, NCAA President Mark Emmert and MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson

I’m in La Jolla, California, where I attended a Mountain West Conference board meeting Tuesday, June 5th, that included NCAA President Mark Emmert. We discussed many issues of importance to MWC teams. The discussion was focused on preserving the integrity of inter-collegiate athletics, preserving traditional rivalries and ensuring universities put academics before athletics. The discussion was was animated, thoughtful and useful. 

West Coast visit

West Coast visit

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium

I attended the Monterey Bay Aquarium board meeting on Friday, June 1, where we had a very interesting gathering. The aquarium is one of the country’s best and it is an honor to be a board member. It was foggy and cold. Miss the warmth and sun of Hawaiʻi.

I am now in warmer San Diego for a Mountain West Conference meeting. I also have a series of meetings about the University of Hawaiʻi’s Innovation Initiative, to lead the development of a $1 billion research industry for our state. The Innovation Initiative will act as an economic fuel cell, with increased research funding leading to more jobs and the development of new businesses.

West Coast visit

Here’s a beautiful view of the Monterey, California coast, where the water was very cold!

Status of Women luncheon

Status of Women luncheon

With our guests at the UH Commission on the Status of Women luncheon, May 21

The UH Commission on the Status of Women held its final meeting of the academic year at College Hill on May 21. About 20 guests joined me as we wrapped up the year. It was the commission’s 25th anniversary as a system commission. In fact, we received certificates from both houses of the state legislature this year.

The commission was formed in 1972 at UH Mānoa and in 1986, it expanded to include representatives from all campuses. The commission has worked to address a variety of issues that are of relevance to the personal and professional well-being of women who are students, faculty or staff here at the UH. Some of the issues that are part of the commission’s history and part of its ongoing agenda include: childcare, gender equality in athletics, campus safety and security, equitable practices in hiring, pay, promotion and tenure.

Status of Women luncheon

Status of Women luncheon

UH Board of Regents meeting

UH Board of Regents Meeting

Testimony given about the new associate in arts degree in Hawaiian studies

UH Board of Regents Meeting

Meeting with the Board of Regents

Not many people know that we marked an historic milestone on May 17, when the Board of Regents unanimously approved an associate in arts degree in Hawaiian studies. The university’s seven community colleges will be offering the AAHS degree to give students the option of transferring to UH Mānoa or any four-year institution to pursue a BA in Hawaiian studies or the field of their choice. Several students and faculty members gave passionate testimony before the vote, saying the AAHS program would preserve the Hawaiian culture, values and language. They were ecstatic about the unanimous approval of the new degree program.

This is a huge step forward in our effort to become the “model indigenous serving institution” in the nation.

Also, the Board of Regents honored outgoing UH Mānoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and Honolulu Community College Chancellor Michael Rota for their years of excellent service. We thank them for their dedication and good work and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.

The board approved Erika Lacro to replace Rota as Honolulu CC’s next chancellor. She attended the meeting where she received a warm welcome and congratulations.

The board and I also recognized outgoing board members Ramón de la Peña, Dennis Hirota, Teena Rasmussen and Matthew Williams, whose terms expire on June 30. It was their last board meeting and our chance to thank them for their years of service on the Board of Regents.

We were also fortunate to have poet and student speaker Jenna Robinson at the regent’s meeting.  She was one of our undergraduate commencement speakers on May 12, and we invited her to repeat her speech presentation to the board. She was remarkable once again.

UH Board of Regents Meeting

Board of Regents Chair Eric Martinson, UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and Honolulu Community College Chancellor Michael Rota

UH Board of Regents Meeting

With Erika Lacro

UH Board of Regents Meeting

Eric Martinson recognizing Ramon de la Pena

UH Board of Regents Meeting

Ramon de la Pena, Teena Rasmussen and Dennis Hirota

UH Manoa’s spring commencement


With Senator Dan Akaka at the UH Manoa’s pre-commencement reception

It was with great pride that I saw more than 2,000 UH Mānoa students receive their hard earned diplomas in both the undergraduate and advanced degree commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12.

Senator Daniel Akaka attended our pre-commencement reception before the advanced degree ceremonies in the afternoon, where he received an honorary degree for his lifelong dedication and contributions in public service.

Internationally renowned author Haruki Murakami also received an honorary degree.

We were also fortunate to have Anton Krucky as our featured speaker at the advanced degree ceremony.  He is co-founder and CEO of Tissue Genesis and also very active in philanthropic and community affairs.

About 800 graduate students heard him speak before receiving their advanced degrees.

Earlier, 1,400 undergraduate students received their bachelor’s degrees. During the pre-commencement reception, I had the honor of meeting with educators and philanthropists Bernard and Barbro Osher, who received the Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters.

Dr. Claire Asam and Dr. J. Kuhio Asam—both UH Mānoa graduates—were featured speakers during the undergraduate degree ceremony.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming student speaker Jenna Robinson, who captivated her fellow graduates and the thousands who attended the undergraduate ceremony. Jenna received her BA in history and ethnic studies and is an intern and researcher for the African American Diversity Cultural Center of Hawaii, where she is working on empowering African–American youth in Hawaiʻi through artistic expression. She has an amazing story. She is one of seven children and the only college graduate.

Congratulations to all graduates.


With Anton Krucky at UH Manoa’s advanced degree ceremony


At UH Manoa’s pre-commencement reception with, from left, Bernard and Barbro Osher and UH Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw


At UH Manoa’s undergraduate ceremony with, from left, Claire Asam, Kuhio Asam, Chancellor Hinshaw and Board of Regents Chair Eric Martinson

Visit with hula halau at Hawaii CC

Hawaii CC visit

Kumu hula and UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC faculty member Taupori Tangaro and his 25 member hula halau, taking a break from rehearsal.

I had the pleasure of visiting with Taupori Tangaro and his hula hālau while at Hawaiʻi Community College for my campus visit. Hālau members were packing up and rehearsing for this summer’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where they will be among 90 delegates representing the University of Hawaiʻi on the National Mall.

UH will be one of only 20 public land grant universities featured during this year’s festival. It celebrates the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Morrill Act, which established our great public land grant university system, making college educations possible for working class Americans.

We are extremely proud to be part of this prestigious national event, where Tangaro’s hālau will perform twice daily and share their knowledge of Hawaiian culture with visitors from around the world. The hālau consists of UH staff, faculty members and students. They will join other UH representatives who will offer exhibits, demonstrations and discussions on everything from Hawaiian health and healing, agriculture, organic eating, non-instrument navigation, language preservation and much more. We are working very hard to represent the university well.

Our appearance at this summer’s Folklife Festival will further our effort to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, language and practices and make UH the “model indigenous-serving university” in the country. The festival runs from June 27 through July 8. If you’re in the Washington D.C. area or on the east coast, please stop by and say hello.

UH Maui College visit

UH Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto was my host as I visited UH Maui College. I met with vice chancellors and directors to discuss our strategic objectives. I also had a chance to visit “Taste of the Islands” which was on campus at the Pāʻina Cafeteria. There were some beautiful, locally grown foods on display, the best in the islands.

Community leaders and members of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council briefed me on Maui issues before I met with faculty and staff for a question and answer forum. We had a good discussion around incorporating emerging technology into the curriculum and I also learned more about the Maui Electrical Vehicle Alliance. Did you know UH Maui College is the only university to receive one of 16 grants from the U.S. Department of Energy? The grants help the island and the campus prepare for the future of electric vehicles. Bravo to our faculty and students from the Valley Isle for representing us so well in the constant search for resources to further our mission.

Thanks to Chancellor Sakamoto and UH Maui College for your efforts and progress.

UH Maui College visit

Kauai Community College visit

Kauai Community College visit

With Kauaʻi CC Chancellor Helen Cox and Director of the Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi Eric Knutzen

I had the pleasure of visiting our garden island campus, Kauaʻi Community College on Thursday where I visited with Chancellor Helen Cox, the administration, staff and students. Our pāʻina and talk story session with staff members, community leaders and students featured a “Healthy Choice” lunch that was prepared for us by Kauaʻi CC’s cafeteria manager, Melanie Bacio. The Healthy Lunch program offers students healthy meal options everyday. We had a farro salad with barbecue chicken or shrimp which was delicious and good for you.

During our afternoon open forum campus discussion, faculty, staff and students could ask me anything they wanted. They expressed their support of distance learning and working with other campuses toward common goals. I was exceptionally pleased to hear that because, as I have stated publicly many times, one of my goals during my presidency is to help UH become one of the best performing systems of higher education in the country.

Thanks to Chancellor Cox and Kauaʻi Community College, we’re on our way.

Kauai Community College visit

With Kauaʻi CC Chancellor Helen Cox and student Ian Ross

Hawaii Executive Conference

Hawaii Executive Conference

Jim Lally, Steve Case (AOL), M.R.C. Greenwood, David Karl and James Wei

We had a wonderful opportunity to present for the first time, details of our plan to build a billion dollar research industry. We made our presentations at the Hawaiʻi Executive Conference on the Big Island. AOL co-founder Steve Case moderated the panel discussion. I presented our research plan, along with distinguished scientist David Karl, UH Foundation board member Jim Lally and expert venture capitalist James Wei.

Mr. Case, who is from a long-standing island family, gave our team some very useful, national and international perspectives on what we are striving for and how to achieve this goal. We were scheduled to take a sail on the Hōkūleʻa, but alas, the seas did not cooperate. Although we were disappointed that we didn’t get to sail, it was a privilege to spend some time with Nainoa Thompson.