At a meeting on April 21 on Oʻahu, the Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment of Rachel Solemsaas as chancellor of Hawaiʻi Community College. Her appointment begins on July 1, 2016.
Solemsaas currently serves as the vice president for finance and administrative services at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada. She previously served as vice president for administrative services at Bellevue College and vice president for finance and operations at Edmonds Community College, both in Washington. With more than 27 years of progressive public service experience that includes 12 years at community colleges, she also served as a chief financial officer, finance director and principal accountant in Washington.
Presently, Solemsaas is president of the National Asian Pacific Islander Council, an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges. Her leadership has guided Truckee Meadows Community College through a financial crises and has established a budget development process that is participatory and transparent. Solemsaas has led her teams through major construction project completion, on budget and on time with unique financing options.
“The community colleges play a critical role in meeting Hawai’i’s workforce needs and opening up higher education for its citizens,” said John Morton, vice president for community colleges. “Dr. Solemsaas’ extensive experience and her passion for meeting the needs of underserved populations will help provide the leadership to enable Hawai’i Community College to create these employment and education opportunities for all of the Big Island residents.”
Solemsaas earned a doctorate of education in higher education with emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila.
April 21, 2016—Editor’s note: This article was updated after Solemsaas’ appointment was approved at the UH Board of Regents meeting.