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Regents’ Medals of Distinction

The Regents’ Medal of Distinction is awarded by the Board of Regents to Individuals of exceptional accomplishment and distinction who have made significant contributions to the university, state, region or nation or within their field of endeavor.

UH Executive Policy PDF on awarding of medals of distinction.

2019 Recipient

  • Chuck Gee, co-founder and longest-serving dean of the UH Manoa School of Travel Industry Management.

2009 Recipient

2008 Recipient

2007 Recipient

2006 Recipient

2005 Recipient

1999 Recipient

  • Noel P. Kefford, former College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources dean and author of the Industry Analysis System

1997 Recipients

  • George Chaplin, editor-in-chief of the Honolulu Advertiser for 26 years and honored by three nations for promoting better understanding between countries
  • Elmo Hardy, evolutionary biologist and world authority on big-headed flies important in agro-ecosystems
  • Hiroshi Tanaka, community advocate and education proponent instrumental in the development of UH Hilo
  • Mamoru Yamasaki, a staunch supporter of higher education during 33 years as a legislator
  • Wood Zimmerman, renowned entomologist on O‘ahu and a union activist on Maui

1996 Recipient

  • Gerald Sass, Freedom Forum executive supporting Asian studies fellowships at the University of Hawai‘i

1995 Recipients

  • Ernest Akamine, a UH plant physiologist who laid the foundation for handling tropical crops developed in Hawai‘i
  • Mackay Yanagisawa, the "shogun of Hawai‘i sports," a player, coach, manager, club owner and creator of the Hula Bowl Classic

1994 Recipient

  • Maya Angelou, a writer, educator, humanitarian and social activist hailed as one of the great figures in contemporary literature

Medal Recipient

Chuck Gee

Chuck Gee

The University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents awarded the Regents' Medal of Distinction to former member Chuck Gee at its May 16, 2019 meeting. He passed away the next day. Gee is the co-founder and longest-serving dean of the UH Manoa School of Travel Industry Management. He held that position from 1976 until his retirement in 1999.

His expertise in tourism has earned him recognition in many forms including being named to the Pacific Asia Travel Association's Gallery of Legends, honorary academic doctorates and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin naming him one of the 100 people who made a difference to Hawai‘i in the 20th century. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the president of Taiwan in 2011 for his contributions to Taiwan’s tourism industry.

Gee served on the Board of Regents from 2009 to 2015. His contributions to the state and the university continue beyond his tenure. The C. Yim Gee Sustainable Tourism Research Fund was established in his name at UH Manoa in 2018. The medal was presented at a celebration of life held on June 25, 2019.