Congresswoman Gabbard receives Fellow of the Pacific award from HPU

December 19, 2013

HONOLULU — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a 2009 graduate of Hawaiʻi Pacific University, was presented the university’s Fellow of the Pacific award, after delivering keynote remarks at HPU’s Winter Commencement Dec. 18.

President Bannister, Congresswoman Gabbard
HPU President Geoffrey Bannister presents U.S. Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard the Fellow of the Pacific Award. 

The award honors outstanding community leaders for their contributions to Hawai‘i, the Pacific Rim and the university. Recipients have included members of Hawai‘i’s congressional delegation, governors of the State of Hawai‘i, local government officials, business leaders, educators, philanthropists and noted professionals in a host of fields.

Gabbard, who earned a B.S. in International Business, was elected to Congress last year after a remarkable campaign that garnered national and international attention. A captain in the Hawaiʻi National Guard who served two deployments in the Middle East, Gabbard became one of the first two female combat veterans elected to Congress, as well as the first female of Samoan ancestry and the first Hindu.

Following her election, she was named a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. More recently, the 32-year-old lawmaker was recognized at Harvard as one of two 2013 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award winners. The prize honors “Americans under 40 who are changing their communities and the country with their commitment to public service” and was recently presented by Kennedy grandson Jack Schlossberg.

Gabbard’s first term has been marked by her success in working across the aisle to advance bi-partisan issues, such as her first sponsored bill, the Helping Heroes Fly Act, which passed the House of Representatives in a unanimous vote. The law allows for disabled or injured military service members to go through airport security screening privately, helping them to avoid potentially embarrassing and difficult screening procedures in full view of other passengers.

For more photos from HPU's  81st commencement ceremony, see