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Welcoming Chancellor Bonnie Irwin

Aloha, 

On behalf of our Kauhale, we welcome University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin to UH and our Island. 

Chancellor Irwin comes to us with a tremendous track record of success, and I look forward to working with her and her team on our shared goal of creating educational opportunities for the residents of Hawai‘i Island. 

The partnership between Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is very important and in recent years has been very strong. 

Approximately half of Hawai‘i CC students are enrolled in “pre-professional” programs that are designed to help them transfer to four-year campuses like UH Hilo. To help those students achieve their academic goals, a strong partnership with UH Hilo is critical. 

Our partnership has produced many success stories, including: 

  • Collaborating since 2015 on the five-year, $4 million Mokaulele Title III Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions grant that seeks to increase the number and proportion of high-need students who persist and graduate from college.

  • Development of numerous agreements that allow Hawai‘i CC graduates to seamlessly transfer into UH Hilo programs. This includes automatic admissions to UH campuses for Hawaii CC alumni who have earned associate degrees. 

  • Successful alumni (our greatest success stories!) who have graduated from Hawai‘i CC, transferred to UH Hilo, earned their bachelor’s degree, and used their education to build rewarding careers. There are 2,057 alumni who have earned degrees from both institutions, and that’s a figure we’re always striving to grow. This is in addition to the many transfer students who start with Hawai‘i CC and move on to UH Hilo before earning their associate degrees. In fall 2018, 72% of UH Hilo transfer students came from Hawai’i CC. We’re continuing to increase this through initiatives such as the system-wide UH Transfer Days. 

Together, Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo create pathways to success in our community. Former Chancellor Don Straney helped orient me when I arrived here three years ago, and I hope to provide the same support to Chancellor Irwin. So join me in welcoming her, and together let’s continue to build the partnerships and positive outcomes we all desire. 

Sincerely, 

Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas