Tag Archives: Hawaii Island

Visit with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce

speaking before a group

I was on Hawaiʻi Island today to speak to the Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce at UH Hilo’s ʻImiloa Astronomy Center. About 70 local business owners and guests attended the meeting and presentation.

We discussed ways to educate our future generations on how to be participating citizens, roles the university is playing in building the society of the future and serving under-served populations.

presentation in front of giant powerpoint

My presentation emphasized that higher education is an excellent investment of public funds and how that investment in the UH System economically impacts Hawaiʻi Island.

We also enjoyed some great stories from UH Hilo, particularly the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy.

group shot

With Big Island Regent Barry Mizuno, Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce President Judith Fox-Goldstein and UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney.

Palamanui check presentation

Palamanui check presentation

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, left, shares a laugh with University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood prior to presentation of $9.68 million to the University of Hawaii to begin construction of the Hawaii Community College Palamanui campus in West Hawaii at the Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua Kona January 31, 2012. Photo By Michael Darden / www.dardenphotos.com

It’s not often in a higher education career that one gets to conceive, design and build a college campus form scratch. But that’s what the University of Hawaiʻi took a big step forward in doing recently when we accepted a check in the amount of $9.68 million from Palamanui Partners in Kona toward the construction of our first permanent campus on the west side of Hawaiʻi!

Hunt Companies Hawaiʻi Division president Steve Colon, representing Palamanui Partners which is a joint effort of Charles Schwab and Hunt Companies, presented a large symbolic check in that amount to Board of Regents Vice Chair James Lee and me, along with Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi, Vice President of Student Affairs and External Relations Rockne Freitas, and Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane. What an occasion to celebrate!

Palamanui check presentation

Rockne Freitas, back, with M.R.C. Greenwood, James Lee, Noreen Yamane, Billy Kenoi and Steve Colon (photo By Michael Darden)

This project has been in the planning stages for 8 years, and it’s remarkable that despite economic challenges the group stuck together and held the collective vision. This campus, when completed, will bring the promise of a college degree and a better quality of life to one of our most underserved areas. We couldn’t have gotten to this day without the help and constant support of community leaders like our Regents from the island of Hawaiʻi Carl Carlson and Barry Mizuno, Chair Eric Martinson, UH Foundation Board member Jim Lally, and so many others. Groundbreaking will occur this coming summer!

More photos from the event on Flickr.