Representatives of the Smithsonian Institute, Bishop Museum and UH meet to collaborate.
It’s been about conservation this week.
Hawaiʻi is one of two finalists to host a large conservation conference here in Hawaiʻi. The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) 2016 World Conservation Congress is also looking at Istanbul, Turkey. IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network, and its World Conservation Congress is the world’s largest and most inclusive nature conservation forum held every four years.
The forum hosts 8,000 to 10,000 delegates from around the world to discuss and decide environmental and development issues and policy. This is an amazing opportunity for Hawaiʻi.
I spent Monday with forum representatives on Hawaiʻi Island and attended a couple of receptions in their honor, including one with Governor Neil Abercrombie.
I think the group was pretty impressed with what our state as to offer and the way we have pulled together to bring this important event to our state.
Also last week—the Smithsonian Institution’s National Board was here for a few events, including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding around the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network.
David Lassner with Smithsonian Institute Secretary G. Wayne Clough upon the signing of a memorandum of understanding regarding the Marine Global Earth Observatory (Marine GEO) project.
The Smithsonian is launching a global network of coastal marine observatories called Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and the university’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology is partnering with the Smithsonian on a Hawaiʻi site (not yet determined) to potentially become the first “partner” site in the network. Exciting.
Senator Jill Tokuda; GG Weisenfeld, Executive Office on Early Learning; David Lassner, UH System; Karen Lee, Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, Kathryn Matayoshi, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education; John La Forgia, Hawaiʻi Pacific Health; Governor Neil Abercrombie; Rep. Roy Takumi; and John Komeiji, Hawaiian TelCom at the 55 by ’25 initiative launch. Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr
We launched the second phase of Hawaiʻi P-20’s public awareness and action campaign January 28 with a news conference at Honolulu Community College. 55 by ’25 aims to have 55 percent of working age adults holding two to four-year college degrees by the year 2025. We hope this campaign raises awareness and creates urgency about the need for students to pursue education beyond high school or Hawaiʻi will not be competitive in the 21st century.
Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr
In my remarks, I said, “When the state needed the University of Hawaiʻi most during the recent recession, we stepped up, enrolled more students, and increased the graduation rate by 27 percent… and we’re ready to do more!”
Hawaiʻi P-20’s Karen Lee with Governor Abercrombie. Photo via the Office of the Governor on Flickr
Thanks to all who attended our news conference, with a special thanks to Governor Neil Abercrombie, GG Weisenfeld, Director, Executive Office on Early Learning; Kathryn Matayoshi, Superintendent, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education; John La Forgia, Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer of Hawaiʻi Pacific Health (our platinum sponsor); Karen Lee, Executive Director, Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education; and Richard Mizusawa, Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi (ASUH).
VIDEO: Educated workforce critical to Hawaiʻi’s future
I truly enjoyed meeting members of the Kauaʻi Chamber of Commerce and the Garden Isle community on January 22, 2014. The chamber kindly co-sponsored an after hours reception at Kauaʻi Community College.
I had the opportunity to meet most of the guests which included chamber and community members, as well as members of the Friends of Kauaʻi Community College which works closely with the college’s chancellor to build community partners and friendships.
Other attendees included Kauaʻi Chancellor Helen Cox, VP for Community Colleges John Morton, other UH administrators and the Board of Regents.
We were on Kauaʻi for a series of meetings and engagements, including the monthly Board of Regents meeting, which was held on the Kauaʻi campus this month.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu at a luncheon at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on January 14th. It was my privilege to speak to the distinguished group about a wide range of issues, including my role as interim president, what the Board of Regents is expecting from me and the next permanent president, the search for the next UH president and what I envision in the coming months and years for one of the state’s most important institutions.
I also took some tough yet insightful questions from the group about the Cancer Center, the UH presidential search and funding.
Thank you to the Rotary Club of Honolulu, President Dave Shanahan, Haumea Ho, Alice Tucker and many others for the warm welcome and their interest in our University of Hawaiʻi.
Below is video of the talk I gave, and you can go to UH News for video of the question and answer session.
UH Interim President David Lassner and Dr. Yoshiaki Matsumae, Vice President of Tokai University Educational System, renew the agreement for international exchange between the two university systems.
We had the pleasure of meeting officials from the Tokai University Educational System in Japan, who visited us at the University of Hawaiʻi on January 10. The purpose of the visit was to sign an agreement for international exchange between UH and Tokai. An agreement signed by former UH President David McClain in 2008 has expired.
The agreement will provide for the exchange of scholars, students, and academic information and materials to enhance the research and education processes at our institutions. In turn, we hope these exchanges increase the mutual understanding between our respective faculties, scholars and students.
University of Hawaii and Tokai University administrators at the international exchange agreement signing.
We were elated to dedicate and bless the University of Hawaiʻi’s new state-of-the art Information Technology Center on Dec. 16. We have been dreaming of this day through a long string of UH presidents and support from so many.
We broke ground on this six-story, 74,000 square-foot building in February 2012 and completed the project on budget, so there was much to celebrate at the dedication ceremony. Following the blessing and untying of the maile lei, the media and guests took tours of the IT Center, including Reps. Gregg Takayama and David Ige.
There are so many people who helped make this dream possible, so I will keep it short and thank Interim Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer Steven Smith and Iris Takamiya, Information Technology Specialist who worked tirelessly on this project. Mahalo!
See more photos of the blessing and the building on Flickr.
Attendees at the opening ceremonies at Fiji’s first conference on Information and Communication Technology in Tertiary Education. From left to right: Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Fiji Chandra Dulare; Vice Chancellor of Fiji National University Ganesh Chand; Acting Prime Minister and Attorney General of Fiji Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum; Vice Chancellor & President of University of the South Pacific Rajesh Chandra; and Lassner.
I had the honor of attending opening ceremonies at Fiji’s first conference on Information and Communication Technology in Tertiary Education (post secondary ed). I was the invited keynote speaker.
More information and photos from the conference are on the University of the South Pacific website.
With Tracey Betts, Director of the Honolulu VA Regional Office, and Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration, General (retired) Eric Shinseki.
We had the honor of meeting with the Secretary of the U.S. Veterans Administration, General (retired) Eric Shinseki. After a productive discussion we held a joint news conference to announce our plan for a new UH task force that will make recommendations on what UH campuses across the state can do to improve the UH System’s support of veteran students.
In fact, I’m looking for UH staff, faculty, community members, government officials, UH veteran students and graduates who are interested in working together to make those recommendations.
Please send your nominations and self-nominations for task force members to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more and see the whole press conference in UH News.
I had a chance to donate to the Aloha United Way’s UH Oʻahu campaign today by running downstairs to buy some lunch at the Bachman Country Store and Bake Sale.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who donated and brought together a wide variety of items, food and baked goods for our 2013 AUW campaign. Our coordinators tell me we raised about $1,200 in just a few hours. Great job!
David Lassner with Peter Crouch (Dean, UH Manoa College of Engineering), Charlie Bass (Trustee, The Bass Trust), R.J. “Zap” Zlatoper (Ret. Admiral, USN), Scott Seu (Vice President, Energy Resources and Operations, Hawaiian Electric Co.)
I had the pleasure of speaking before the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Council last week. The council is similar to a corporate board of directors that provides guidance on strategic and political matters that aim to advance educational and research programs within the college.
The meeting included council members, the College of Engineering Dean Peter Crouch, his leadership team and department chairs.
We discussed a wide array of issues, and I outlined my goals and objectives as Interim President. They include improving the university’s image, the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative, the Hawaiʻi Innovation Initiative, the deferred maintenance backlog and my willingness to assist the college in becoming an effective and important component of the UH System.