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.
- William Kwai-Fong Yap, higher education advocate and benefactor
- Winona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha Beamer, kumu hula, educator, author, composer and entertainer
- Alice Augusta Ball, pioneering chemist
- Abraham Piianaia, Hawaiian cultural expert
- Eliot Deutsch, philosophy scholar
- Noel P. Kefford, former College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources dean and author of the Industry Analysis System
- 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 Oahu and a union activist on Maui
- Gerald Sass, Freedom Forum executive supporting Asian studies fellowships at the University of Hawaii
- Ernest Akamine, a UH plant physiologist who laid the foundation for handling tropical crops developed in Hawaii
- Mackay Yanagisawa, the "shogun of Hawaii sports," a player, coach, manager, club owner and creator of the Hula Bowl Classic
- Maya Angelou, a writer, educator, humanitarian and social activist hailed as one of the great figures in contemporary literature
Presented posthumously, Oct. 26, 2006, UH Manoa
A 1953 alumnus of the University of Hawaii, Abraham St. Chad Kikiakoi Kalilioku Piianaia was a steward of native Hawaiian legacy, culture and language.
A descendant of Hawaiian aliʻi grounded in Hawaiian and Polynesian protocol and seafaring, he was the inauguaral director of the Hawaiian Studies Program at UH Manoa and a major force in the Polynesian voyaging revival.
Piianaia was a popular professor who taught generations of UH students about the geoography of Oahu. He also served the community on various local and national boards and held leadership positions, including chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
He was named a Living Treasure of Hawaii in 1999 and received outstanding alumnus honors from both UH and Kamehameha Schools and the 2004 Ke Alii Pauahi Legacy Award from the Order of Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation.