Director of Mauna Kea Management and Director of Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center NamedUniversity of Hawaiʻi
Kristen Cabral, (808) 956-6934
University of Hawaiʻi President Evan S. Dobelle announced the appointment of William (Bill) Stormont as director of Mauna Kea Management. In his capacity as director, Stormont will be responsible for the overall integrated management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, including the Summit Road, Mauna Kea Support Services, the Mid-Level Support Facility and Hale Pohaku.
"I am excited to announce the appointment of Bill Stormont to the position of director of Mauna Kea Management. He brings with him a wealth of experience in natural resources management and the fact that he grew up here in Hilo makes his appointment even more significant. The University of Hawaiʻi is very fortunate that we are able to tap this type of expertise right in our own backyard," said Dobelle.
Stormont will serve as liaison between the Chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the Mauna Kea Management Board (MKMB) as well as the community and various agencies and organizations interested in the protection, enhancement and management of the cultural, environmental and natural resources and operations of the Science Reserve and astronomy education programs.
He will also oversee the development of plans and policies that will integrate and balance the educational, research, and recreational use and management of Mauna Kea so as to provide responsible stewardship of Mauna Kea‘s cultural, natural, educational and research resources.
A native of the Big Island, Stormont has served as the manager of the state‘s Natural Area Reserve System components on the Big Island for the past ten years. Stormont also has held positions as protection forester and survey forester with the Hawaiʻi branch of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife. He holds a B.S. in Wildland Recreation Management from the University of Idaho.
"Bill possesses the overall energy and genuine passion to manage Mauna Kea responsibly and with dignity and sensitivity. His experiences with government and natural resource management issues will be invaluable in leading the planning and development of educational, cultural and environmental programs," according to Rose Tseng, chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. "I have really appreciated the leadership of Walter Heen and the solid foundation he developed for the Office of Mauna Kea Management," she said.
In February of this year, the search for a permanent director of Mauna Kea Management began. Tseng appointed a five-member search committee composed of three members from the MKMB, a member from Ahahui Ku Mauna, and a UH Hilo faculty member.
On August 9, George Jacob, former vice president of exhibits and design at the Oregon Museum of Science Technology and president of Jacob Planning and Management, was named director of the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center (MKAEC). Jacob earned masters degrees in museum studies from the University of Toronto and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science. He also received professional certifications at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Canadian Museums Association. A Commonwealth fellow, Jacob has chaired various state level committees and has sat on numerous boards, including the Executive Council of the Commonwealth Associations of Museums (UK), Museum Educators Roundtable of Toronto and the Canada Singapore Business Association.
The MKAEC will be built on a 10-acre site in the University Park for Science and Technology. The Center will serve as the premier interpretative and education center for the world‘s finest astronomical observatories as well as Hawaiian voyaging, star gazing, and the cultural appreciation of the mountain. The Center‘s facilities, exhibits and outreach programs will utilize the most advanced technologies to inspire children to pursue the study of science and the stars.
"I‘m very pleased that we were able to recruit these highly qualified individuals for these two, very important positions, " said Dobelle. "The Mauna Kea Management Board and the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center will benefit greatly from their combined knowledge, vision and leadership."
Dobelle also announced his desire, with protocol and process, to rename the University of Hawaiʻi Institute for Astronomy facility at Hilo the Malama Mauna Kea Center.
"The University of Hawaiʻi reaffirms its commitment that the limited number of telescope sites on Mauna Kea will be used for the highest and best scientific purpose. Any facility which ceases operation or is no longer scientifically productive will be removed. The first priority in siting new facilities will be through the replacement of existing facilities. In the specific case of the VLBA antenna, this facility will be removed at the end of its scientific life and no future facility will be considered for that location."
The Mauna Kea Science Reserve is 11,288 acres and within this area is a designated astronomy precinct of 525 acres. The University‘s new Mauna Kea Master Plans calls for all future astronomy development to take place within the astronomy precinct.