Aloha,

With this column I’d like to share a few Hawai’i Community College “Kauhale News” updates.

Commencements Coming Soon

Due to the pandemic, we won’t be hosting our traditional large, in-person commencement ceremonies this year. But that won’t stop us from celebrating our students’ achievements. We will have drive-through commencements in Hilo on May 14 and in Kona on May 15. In addition, we have partnered with Nā Leo TV, which is producing a pre-recorded commencement to honor our graduates. It premieres Friday, May 14 at 6 p.m. and will continue playing after the premiere and be available on their website. Tune in as we honor our graduates!

$1 Million Donation

Hawai‘i CC is honored to be the recipient of a recent $1 million anonymous donation. This is a major gift for our college, and it’s a real endorsement of our mission and how we’re achieving it.

Most of the funds will be used for student scholarships. $920,000 of the gift funds the A Hua Maila Endowed Scholarship, supporting full-time and part-time students pursuing a degree in any area of study. $80,000 funds the E Huaka‘i (to journey) Professional Development Endowment, supporting professional development for Hawai‘i Community College faculty, staff and student leaders.

We are eternally grateful to the generous donor who is forever shaping the life trajectory of so many of our Hawai‘i Island residents by helping to make a quality higher education affordable. FULL STORY.

Electronics Alum’s Career Takes Flight

We love our student success stories as they affirm the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff and community supporters. Andrew Hasegawa’s experience is a good example. He returned to college as an adult and enrolled in our Electronics Technology program. After earning his associate degree in 2018, he soon landed a great job as an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist for the Federal Aviation Administration at the Hilo International Airport. It’s always great to see students use their newfound skills to find jobs that support them and their families. Andrew said: “All I can say is, if anyone is fresh out of high school or looking for a change in career like I did, man, Hawai‘i CC is honestly probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.” FULL STORY.

Pālamanui Construction Projects Advance

Construction projects that are underway at the Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui campus will significantly boost the student experience, academic programs and the ability to host campus and community events.

The projects include renovating space to create a physics lab; adding an overflow parking area that is also a place for construction apprenticeship programs; and adding a large new covered outdoor space that will benefit the Culinary Arts program and give students a better place to congregate. These are important for our Kona campus and we appreciate all the support we’ve received along the way. FULL STORY.

$300K NSF Grant Supports ‘Controlled Environment Agriculture’ Project

The Electronics Technology and Agriculture programs are teaming up on a unique project to build a mobile greenhouse using an insulated and refrigerated shipping container. The project, which is supported by a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), will give students in the two programs hands-on opportunities to study “controlled environment agriculture” as they help build, automate and optimize the greenhouse. This project is just getting started, so stay tuned for more.

American Association of Community Colleges

I am honored to have been elected as a new board member for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. As we recover from the pandemic — and as national policy decisions are made and economic stimulus investments are deployed — I look forward to using this position to advocate on behalf of community college students and to represent Hawai‘i and the Pacific.

Mahalo,

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas