About HPU

University History

HPU students Recognizing the need for an independent, nonsectarian liberal arts college in Honolulu, four prominent and public-spirited citizens -- Eureka Forbes, Paul C.T. Loo, Elizabeth W. Kellerman, and The Reverend Edmond Walker -- applied for a charter of incorporation for a not-for-profit corporation to be called Hawai'i Pacific College. The state of Hawai'i granted a charter of incorporation to Hawai'i Pacific on September 17, 1965.

One year later, in September 1966, Honolulu Christian College merged with Hawai'i Pacific College, and a new charter was granted by the state of Hawai'i.

In 1967, Dr. James L. Meader became Hawai'i Pacific College's first president. President Meader, in consultation with community leaders, developed a comprehensive educational program to meet various higher education needs for the state of Hawai'i.

When Dr. Meader retired on June 30, 1968, the Board of Trustees elected The Reverend George A. Warmer as Hawai'i Pacific's second President. Under President Warmer's leadership, the College implemented academic programs in the liberal arts and cooperative education.

In 1972, Hawai'i Pacific College graduated seven students in its first commencement class and in the same year established a School of Business Administration. Chatt G. Wright became the founding dean of Hawai'i Pacific's new School of Business Administration.

In 1973, the College received full accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The following years saw the creation of the English Foundations Program, offering instruction to non-native speakers of English, and the Division of Satellite Programs, administering off-campus instruction on various military installations on O'ahu.

President Warmer retired in 1976, and Chatt G. Wright became Hawai'i Pacific's third president. Under President Wright's leadership, Hawai'i Pacific continued to expand and develop throughout the 1980s, and in 1990 became Hawai'i Pacific University (HPU). This achievement of university status was made possible by the successful launch of graduate degree programs: a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program in 1986, a Master of Science in Information Systems (M.S.I.S.) program in 1989, and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Management in 1991.

In 1978, HPU first ventured into intercollegiate athletics with the formation of the men’s basketball team. Now competing in the Pacific West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, HPU Sharks (formerly Sea Warriors) athletic teams are recognized as some of the finest in the nation.

In 1992, Hawai'i Loa College, a small, independent liberal arts college located on the windward side of O'ahu, merged with Hawai'i Pacific University. This historic merger brought together the strength of two academically strong institutions, and helped to expand Hawai'i Pacific University's role as a leader in higher education for the state of Hawai'i and the Pacific Basin.

In 1993, HPU captured Hawai‘i’s first and only NAIA national championship in men’s basketball.

In 2003, the Oceanic Institute became an affiliate of Hawai‘i Pacific University. The Oceanic Institute is a 56-acre aquaculture research facility at Makapu‘u Point; undergraduate and graduate students benefit from the research and internship opportunities available there.

In 2003, the HPU Cheer Program won its first Division II National Championship Title and has won a national title for the past ten consecutive years. The HPU Dance Team won their first national title in 2004 and has won national titles for a total of eight years.

In 2004, the HPU International Vocal Ensemble made its Carnegie Hall debut, performing Morten Lauriden’s Lux Aeterna and O Magnum Mysterium.

On June 2, 2008, HPU welcomed ELS Language Centers (ELS), the international leader in academic English-language preparation, onto campus. ELS provides intensive English training, semi-intensive English training and American Explorer program on HPU’s downtown Honolulu campus.

In 2008, the HPU Chamber Orchestra and International Vocal Ensemble performed a concert tour in China, visiting Beijing and Xi’an.

In 2010, the Women’s Softball team won the National Championship for NCAA Division II.

In March 2010, Hawai‘i Pacific University’s Board of Trustees announced the formal creation of a search committee that was responsible for helping select the school’s next president.  The appointment of the search committee followed the announcement by HPU President Chatt G. Wright that he was retiring from his position on June 30, 2011.

In January 2011, Hawai'i Pacific University's Board of Trustees named Dr. Geoffrey Bannister as HPU's next president, effective July 1, 2011. Dr. Bannister was selected from an impressive slate of finalists after an expansive national search. Dr. Bannister comes to HPU with extensive experience in higher education, having served as the 17th president of Butler University, Indianapolis, for 12 years, among other executive positions. For more information on HPU's next president, please click here.

In November 2011, HPU students won big in the Hawai'i Site of the ACM Contest, placing 1st, 3rd (tie), and 5th in the Hawaii site of the ACM international computer programming contest on Saturday, November 5th.

Also in November 2011, HPU affiliate, the Oceanic Institute demonstrated revolutionary shrimp growing technology that can compete with foreign imports and provide a sustainable seafood product to U.S. consumers. “The successful development of this technology is not only a great achievement for the Oceanic Institute and the goals of its affiliation with Hawai‘i Pacific University, but it has the potential to completely change the way we source shrimp in the United States,” said President Bannister.

In April 2012, HPU Celebrated its 28th Annual Intercultural Day. Established in 1984, Intercultural Day creates a venue for students to share their traditions and customs. Over the years, HPU has become a melting pot by attracting students from around the globe. Free and open to the public, the event spotlights HPU students’ ethnic and cultural diversity through a parade, exhibits and lively stage performances

In July 2012, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a special purpose revenue bond for Hawai 'i Pacific University, issued by the state legislature that will help Hawai‘i Pacific University raise as much as $120 million for critical capital projects at its three locations around O‘ahu.

In September 2012, HPU was again named one of the nation’s most military friendly campuses in a listing published on the G.I. Jobs website by Victory Media, a media outlet focused on helping military personnel transition into civilian life. The 2013 Military Friendly Schools list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses as students and ensure their success on campus.

In January 2013, the Aloha Tower Development Corporation (ATDC) consented to the University’s ownership and management of the Aloha Tower Marketplace. The approvals passed by ATDC were essential to Hawai'i Pacific’s plan to move forward in redeveloping the Marketplace into a mixed-use property featuring outstanding student housing, retail and dining businesses and community gathering spaces.

In April 2013, Hawai'i Pacific received the Green Business Award from Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The award honors the work done at the Hawaii Loa Campus in the area of energy efficiency, which includes composting 100 percent of green waste on-site, using a rain catchment and garden system, offering numerous recycled-content products in the bookstore and more.

In May 2013, HPU celebrated its 80th Commencement Ceremony. Hawai‘i Pacific University conferred associate, baccalaureate and master degrees to more than 890 graduates in the Spring 2013 class. More than 700 of these students participated in HPU's 80th commencement ceremony, which took place on Thursday, May 16, at the Neal Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu.

Also in 2013, HPU introduced its distinctive new logo and branding, celebrating the school colors of blue and gray. The previous logo, with former school colors of blue and green, is now the university seal. More about logo and seal here.

In January 2014, HPU completed a merger to bring Oceanic Institute formally into the university.

In June 2014, HPU held a ceremonial groundbreaking and traditional Hawaiian blessing today at Aloha Tower Marketplace, marking the official start of revitalizing this iconic waterfront destination. When completed, the first floor of Aloha Tower Marketplace will continue to be open for the public to enjoy, inclusive of 84,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor public space and 15,000 square feet of space that is shared by HPU and the public. The second floor is slated to be residential housing for nearly 300 students and will help generate repeat revenue for retail – including the incoming Barnes & Noble bookstore.

In August 2014, the athletics program became known as the “Hawai‘i Pacific University Sharks.” The shark has been associated with the HPU Athletics identity for many years, as teams competed as the Sea Warriors. The reimagined new brand was developed with collaborative insights from a cross-representation of HPU students, coaches, alumni, faculty and members of the community at large.