Largest private award ever to UH from the Simons Foundation

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L-R: SOEST Dean Brian Taylor, me, Ed DeLong and David Karl.

We were elated to announce the largest private award ever to the University of Hawaiʻi, at a news conference at Snug Harbor on July 16, 2014. The Simons Foundation awarded UH Mānoa professors Edward DeLong and David Karl, both from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, $40 million to lead the Simons Collaboration on Ocean Processes and Ecology (SCOPE). Again, this is the largest private gift UH has ever received.

SCOPE is among the Simons Foundation’s programs in the division of Life Sciences. It aims to further our understanding of the microscopic organisms that inhabit every drop of seawater and how those creatures control the movement and exchange of energy and nutrients, from the surface waters to the deep sea.

Both Ed and David have worked long and hard with the foundation to make this happen. This really demonstrates what is possible when we work together.

This is also an incredible affirmation of the potential of the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative.

A lot of people have wondered can we really be serious about building a billion dollar research industry in the state. I think this is an example of how we’ll do it. It isn’t just going to the federal government and cranking out more proposals, but it’s captivating the interests of philanthropists and partners around the country and around the world to build this investment in a research and innovation economy for Hawaiʻi that advances the frontiers of human knowledge.

This award is a vote of confidence in Ed and Dave and in the University of Hawaiʻi. It is not a coincidence that UH is leading a consortium with some of the best research institutions in the country. We’re not just tagging along for the ride. So thank you Ed and Dave, thank you to the Simons organization and to all who have been a part of this.

UH News Video: Largest ever private award to UH funds microbial oceanography research

My remarks from the press conference.

Video message to the UH ‘ohana

By now you’ve probably heard that the Board of Regents has selected me for the UH presidency.

I am humbled and honored by the trust being placed in me by the Board of Regents, particularly after the extensive process of internal and external forums, meetings and interviews. I pledge to continue to listen, learn and collaborate to achieve even greater excellence across the UH System as we execute on our shared vision to serve all the people of Hawaiʻi in a manner that exemplifies superb stewardship of public resources.

World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education

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UH and community leaders await the arrival of the visitors aboard four canoes at Sans Souci Beach, at the welcoming ceremony for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.

Hundreds of people packed Sans Souci Beach in Waikīkī on May 19 for a welcoming ceremony for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education. I joined other UH and community leaders onshore to welcome four canoes that arrived onshore, carrying representatives of visiting educators.

More than 3,000 educators from around the world are gathering at the University of Hawaiʻi this week for the 2014 conference. These gatherings take place every three years, and this year, the University of Hawaiʻi is proud and honored to host the event at Kapiʻolani Community College.

UH is a model indigenous sharing university, so this is a fabulous opportunity to share what we have learned from others around the world. Participants will be attending various workshops, sharing their expert knowledge and discussing contemporary movements in education that support indigenous world views. The conference wraps up on Saturday.

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Representatives of more than 3,000 visitors/participants of the World Indigenous Peoples Conference are warmly welcomed.

Continue reading for more pictures.

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Governor’s Proclamation of UH Community Colleges Day

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Leaders from the UH System and Community Colleges receive the Governor’s UH Community Colleges Day proclamation at the Governor’s office.

The University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges were honored with a Governor’s Proclamation on April 23. Governor Neil Abercrombie spent some time reminiscing about his days teaching at Leeward Community College before he presented the proclamation to VP for Community Colleges John Morton in the Governor’s office. The proclamation declares April 23 UH Community Colleges Day, in honor of the CC’s 50th anniversary.

It was on April 23, 1964 that Governor John A. Burns signed into law a major legislative act that provided all citizens with access to a college education. Today, the community colleges’ open-door policy and affordable tuition make it possible for people from all walks of life to earn college degrees.

VIDEO: Governor proclaims April 23 as UH Community Colleges Day

More on the anniversary

Research collaboration with Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology

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(left to right) Aska Vanroosebeke from JAMSTEC International Affairs Division; Gregg Moore, UH Mānoa professor of geology and geophysics; Dr. Asahiko Taira, president of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC); me and Kevin Hamilton, director of the International Pacific Research Center.

The president of Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) visited UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), or more specifically the school’s International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) from April 16-18. Dr. Asahiko Taira’s visit coincided with SOEST’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

JAMSTEC has funded IPRC for the last 17 years for a total of more than $40 million, and has just signed another multi-year cooperative agreement that extends through at least March 2017. This new agreement will continue JAMSTEC funding of collaborative research with IPRC. Our deepest gratitude to Dr. Taira and JAMSTEC for their continued interest in IPRC and SOEST.

Palamanui Fundraising Golf Tournament

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Ross Wilson, left, introduces officials from the University of Hawai’i and University of Hawai’i Foundation. From left to right are Interim UH President David Lassner, Director of the UH Center, West Hawai’i Marty Fletcher, Hawai’i Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane, UH Foundation President and CEO Donna Vuchinich, and Cordy McLaughlin, the Director of Development, Regional and Community Colleges.

Thanking golfers and sending them off at the 6th Annual Palamanui Fundraising Golf Tournament, April 14, 2014 at the Club at Hōkūliʻa.

Barack Obama Presidential Center

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We are grateful for the support of Howard Hughes Corporation Sr. VP David Striph (center) and Governor Neil Abercrombie (right).

On March 28 I attended an informative and enjoyable breakfast briefing on the proposed Barack Obama Presidential Center. Business and community leaders were invited to hear about proposed plans for the center in Kakaʻako.

Thank you to Governor Neil Abercrombie, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Office of Hawaiian Affairs CEO Kamanaʻo Crabbe, Howard Hughes Corporation Sr. VP David Striph and many other community and business leaders for attending the briefing, which included an excellent video presentation of our proposal. We even secured a few additional generous donations from the Howard Hughes Corporation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Electric Industries to develop Hawaiʻi’s proposal.

The faculty-led Presidential Center leadership team, headed by American studies Associate Professor Robert Perkinson has been working on this project since the 2008 primaries, even before Barack Obama became president. The team also includes Maxine Burkett (law), Patricia Halagao (education), Maria Simone (architecture) and A.J. Halagao (advisor).

Thank you all for your dedication, hard work and support!

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell (far left) demonstrated his support for the Barack Obama Center, along with other community leaders.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

I had the honor of meeting Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education at a dinner coordinated by the Hawaiʻi Department of Education and hosted by Debbie Berger and Bill Reeves of The Learning Coalition.

Secretary Duncan was in Honolulu as part of his Race to the Top tour of all 50 states. The U.S. Department of Education says Duncan is the first education secretary to visit Hawaiʻi in about 20 years.

While here, Secretary Duncan visited Ka Waihona o ka Naʻauao public charter school on the Waiʻanae Coast as well as Waipahu High School. He also praised the Hawaiʻi DOE and the public school system for significant progress made in the $75 million Race to the Top grant.

We are proud of the strong partnership between UH and the state DOE; one strong example of this was witnessed by Secretary Duncan in the work that Leeward Community College and UH West Oʻahu are doing with Waipahu High School around accelerated learning and early college classes.

KITV: U.S. Secretary of Education visits Waipahu High School

Meeting with President Underwood of the University of Guam

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University of Guam President Robert Underwood. Courtesy UOG Facebook

I had a good meeting with the president of the University of Guam, Dr. Robert Underwood, who visited us at Bachman Hall recently. We first met when I traveled to U of Guam in 2012 to help the campus with information technology matters.

Dr. Underwood and I discussed higher education at our respective institutions and the East-West Center hosted a luncheon in his honor while he was in Honolulu.

UH Community Colleges at the State Capitol

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Community college chancellors standing before doors representing opportunity and access at their campus. Via UH System Flickr

We had a successful College Day at the State Capitol on Tuesday, as part of Education Week at the State Legislature.

One of the highlights was a symbolic presentation of the “opening of college doors” representing the the UH Community Colleges’ open-door mission. Our community college chancellors stood before a row of multi-colored doors and opened them for the students to symbolize accessibility, affordability and quality education offered by our community colleges.

UH VP for Community Colleges John Morton and I would like to thank Governor Neil Abercrombie, State Senators Jill Tokuda and Brian Taniguchi, and State Representative Isaac Choy for taking the time to attend our opening program and to experience our community colleges’ exhibits and demonstrations in the Rotunda and second floor of the State Capitol.

Thank you to VP Morton, Director of Marketing Communications Susan Lee and countless others who worked tirelessly to make our College Day a success!

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UH System Interim President David Lassner speaking at College Day at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Via Leeward CC Flickr

See more photos and video from College Day 2014