Aug. 23, 2011
Welcome to fall semester 2011
Welcome to all of our students, faculty and staff as we begin a new academic year at the University of Hawaii. I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing summer and are returning to campus ready to learn and work.
To all of our students, whether freshmen, returning or re-entering school for professional advancement, I urge you to dedicate yourselves to studying hard this year. Take advantage of the wealth of services and knowledge we have available at our campuses. Build relationships with your professors and instructors and utilize them as mentors. And focus on what you are really here to get—a college education, a degree and a foundation for the rest of your life.
To our talented and dedicated faculty, you are the “bearers of the light of education” for all—a worthy and rewarding pursuit. The beginning of a new academic year represents the opportunity for a fresh start, and I hope that you enter your classrooms and laboratories this fall with renewed dedication and enthusiasm for this most noble of callings. You are the reason the University of Hawaii continues to grow in national and international stature, and I thank you for your hard work.
To our staff, who has weathered some tough economic times but have still managed to meet the administrative needs of the university, I thank you for looking constantly for creative ways to do more with less, and to still help us deliver the best educational value possible to our students.
We couldn’t have navigated these challenging waters as successfully as we have without the support of our alumni and those in the community who believe in the power of public higher education. That belief in us, and the ways you have demonstrated that belief through financial and moral support, have kept us going in many ways. Most importantly, it has allowed us to provide critical aid so that all students who wish it can achieve a college degree.
To our legislators, we know it’s been challenging to try and meet all the needs of Hawaii’s people. We’re grateful to you for the efforts you’ve made on behalf of public higher education, so that we can meet those human needs for a chance at a better life, and we look forward to a productive and mutually beneficial working relationship this coming session in January 2012.
But in light of these times, when upsetting news seems to come at us from all sides, and many see their own personal futures as uncertain, let’s try to keep things in perspective. Lets remember to take some time to have fun!
For me, that meant having my grandchildren visit me during their the summer break, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed spending time with them and experiencing activities around the island through their eyes.
They reminded me that while work and study are important, it’s also important to balance that with time for family, friends and fun. As we all get into the swing of things this fall semester with classes and work, I encourage you all to strive for that balance.
And lets also remember to celebrate the good things that have come our way in recent times.
UH West Oahu is one year away from opening the doors to a new campus. It will be state-of-the-art and provide one of the most contemporary, energy efficient, and stimulating learning environments in the nation. I think you’ll be incredibly proud, as I already am, to see its progress.
A new Sciences and Technology Building at UH Hilo will enhance student learning, teaching and research at that campus in Hilo, on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii which is itself a living laboratory, with its incredible natural resources.
UH Manoa is celebrating its recently earned maximum 10-year reaccreditation. We’re proud of our flagship campus, not only for its vibrant undergraduate community, but its growing and nationally recognized research division, which brought in nearly half a billion dollars to the economy last year, at a time when resources are dwindling nationally. What an accomplishment!
Our UH Community Colleges throughout the state are helping Native Hawaiian students and other under-served populations achieve their dream of higher education. We’re so pleased that in four short years, the number of Native Hawaiian students in the UH System has doubled, and these students are graduating with associate degrees and transferring to our baccalaureate programs. We’re so proud to see the Community Colleges excelling at the unique role they have to play in our educational mission.
We celebrate these accomplishments and look forward to more successes, even with the challenges that confront us of a sluggish economy, difficult budget cuts and larger workloads. I can tell you that the University of Hawaii will endure, and it is an enduring institution. We’ve been here for 100 years, and we’ll be here for another 100 years.
It is truly an honor for me to serve as president of this great university. I’m excited to begin this new academic year with all of you, and I wish you all a productive and fulfilling year ahead.