Hawaii Congressional Leader to Deliver Spring Commencement Keynote AddressUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642
Media Relations Director
Inouye, Hawaiʻi's senior U.S. senator, is a highly decorated veteran of World War II who served as a member of the army's famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He returned home in 1947 as a Captain with a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with cluster, along with 12 other medals and citations and was later awarded the Medal of Honor. With financial assistance from the G.I. Bill, Inouye graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi in 1950 and George Washington University Law School in 1952. A member of Congress since Hawaiʻi achieved statehood in 1959, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962 and is currently the fourth most senior member of that body.
Inouye gained nationwide prominence in 1968 when he addressed theDemocratic National Convention in Chicago, and for his service on the Senate Select Committee on Watergate, which led to the 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon.
Throughout his career, Inouye has championed the interests of Hawaiʻi's people. In 1993, he was instrumental in engineering the restoration and return of Kahoolawe, a former military target practice site, to the State of Hawaiʻi. He has also fought for improved health care for all children, additional jobs for Hawaiʻi's economy, affordable housing and the protection of the nation's natural resources.
Inouye is also credited with spearheading two major initiatives, which will reside in UH Hilo's University Park of Science and Technology. Inouye championed the development of the $40 million Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, and is responsible for securing $18 million in federal funds to finish the first phase of the project. He also initiated procurement of federal funds for the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center.
Henry Giugni, longtime friend and political associate of Inouye, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the commencement ceremony. Giugni served as Inouye‘s chief of staff from 1963 to 1986, was the U.S. Senate‘s Sergeant-at-Arms from 1987 to 1990, and has participated in each of Inouye‘s campaigns dating back to 1957.Ann Haggerty, a four-year starter for the UH Hilo women's volleyball team, will represent the graduating class as student speaker. An Oregon native, Haggerty attended Douglas McKay High School in Salem, before earning a volleyball scholarship to attend UH Hilo.
Equally adept both on and off the court, Haggerty was a three-time member of the Pacific West Conference all academic team and made the Deans List four times. She has maintained a 3.6 GPA majoring in psychology with a minor in communication. Her post-graduate plans include attending graduate school at Denver University, where she hopes to earn a masters in forensic psychology.
For more information on commencement, contact Haunani Bernardino at (808) 974-7705 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For special accommodations, contact Susan Shirachi Gonsalves at (808) 933-0816 (V) or (808) 974-7335(TTY). Requests for special accommodations should be made at least 10 business days prior to the event.