Hawai‘i Pacific University begins 48th year

September 03, 2013


New students light candles together at the Hawaii Loa Campus.

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University, the state’s largest private, not-for-profit university, begins classes today, Sept. 3. Last week, HPU began a new tradition, bringing its New Student Orientation to the historic Aloha Tower. More than 600 students and 300 parents participated in dozens of activities at Aloha Tower, including campus tours, academic advising, sessions on studying abroad and academics, and opportunities to meet university faculty and staff.

Bringing orientation to Aloha Tower underscores HPU commitment to revitalizing the waterfront area, with planned renovations including building lofts for more than 300 young women and men and the introduction of new retail and dining establishments to serve residents, visitors and the university community. Among the new businesses will be a Barnes & Noble College Bookstore, anticipated to open within the academic year.

HPU has already successfully sold the first set of special purpose revenue bonds, bringing in $42 million to be invested for critical improvements, including classroom, infrastructure and laboratory upgrades, in addition to work at Aloha Tower.

"As our university implements its new strategic plan governing this and other major efforts and as we draw closer to our 50th anniversary in 2015, the Aloha Tower project represents a major milestone on the journey toward our goal of making HPU one of the top 10 private, comprehensive universities in the Western United States," said HPU President Geoffrey Bannister.

Other welcome week activities included a special candlelight ceremony, with new students marking the beginning of their journey at HPU, and also Sea Warrior Service Day, when volunteers gave back to the community with service projects, including Waikalua Loko Fishpond restoration and beautification of Sherwoods Beach and Hawai‘i Nature Center trails.

This marks the beginning of the university’s 48th year. Founded in 1965 as Hawaii Pacific College, it absorbed Honolulu Christian College and Hawaii Loa College along the years on its way to becoming HPU. Today, the university has several major presences. The Downtown Campus is surrounded by a historic district that includes the State Capitol, Iolani Palace, Fort Street and the nation’s oldest continually operating cathedral. The residential Hawai‘i Loa Campus is nestled in 135 lush, verdant acres in Kaneohe, and is home to College of Natural and Computational Sciences and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Here's what's new at HPU:

  • New recognition as the most diverse university in the country and one of the best in Hawai‘i offering return on investment.
  • Matthew Liao-Troth, leading academics affairs as HPU's first provost and who has nearly two decades of higher education experience and proven leadership ability.
  • Political scientist and longtime higher education leader David J. Lanoue as the dean of College of Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing considerable scholarship and experience to HPU's largest college.
  • The Oceanic Institute, located on a 56-acre site at Makapu‘u Point on the windward coast of O‘ahu, recently opened its new $3-million Ocean Learning Center dedicated to expanding a high-tech workforce
  • The debut of Science Pub-Hawai'i, a new informal forum to learn about science from HPU's respected science faculty, with seabird expert David Hyrenbach speaking at Gordon Biersch at Aloha Tower Marketplace, Sept. 16.
  • Career nursing administrator Lynette Landry, who has extensive experience in academia as well as major California health care facilities slated as the next dean for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, starting in January.
  • The 2013 Athletics Hall of Fame class inducting HPU Volleyball national championship team members Nia Tuitele and Debbie Sant'Anna and other outstanding Sea Warriors, who will be recognized at the S.H.A.R.X. Benefit Oct. 16.

Aloha Tower

Orientation at Aloha Tower Marketplace.