Vance Named 2015 Hawaii History Educator of the Year

April 21, 2015

Justin Vance, Ed.D.
 Justin Vance, Ed.D.
HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University associate professor of History Justin Vance, Ed.D., was recently named the 2015 Hawaii History Educator of the Year. The award is administered by History Education Hawaii, Inc., the Hawaii council for the National Council for History Education (NCHE).

The award recognizes Vance’s dedication to advancing history education in Hawai‘i, said Jeffrey Bingham Mead, co-founder and president of History Education Hawaii.

“There is no doubt that Dr. Justin Vance is an exceptionally gifted historian and history educator,” Mead said. “Dr. Vance has distinguished himself through years of persistence, hard work in the unrelenting pursuit of educational excellence in the academic discipline of history.”

“His teaching and advocacy of historical literacy in Hawai‘i has propelled him to touch the lives of many both inside and outside the classroom,” Mead noted.

As a history educator, Vance has inspired both students and colleagues, according to HPU College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean David Lanoue, Ph.D.

“Justin exemplifies the best of HPU and our college. Not only do our faculty excel in the classroom, they also conduct research that expands our understanding of the human experience,” Lanoue said.

“Justin’s work brings to light a little-known, but important chapter in the shared history of Hawai‘i and the mainland U.S.,” Lanoue said. “His work ensures that Hawai‘i’s Civil War veterans will not be forgotten.”

In recent years, Vance — who also serves as interim dean of HPU’s Military Campus Programs — has collaborated with other local U.S. Civil War historians to delve into the significant role of Hawaiians in both the Union and Confederacy.

Their most recent work is the “Pacific Islanders and the Civil War” section of the newly released book, 
Asians and Pacific​ Islanders and the Civil War. It includes the military service stories of many Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, including Private J.R. Kealoha.

In October 2014, Vance participated in a dedication ceremony to mark the burial site of Private Kealoha at Oahu Cemetery. For 137 years, Kealoha, a Native Hawaiian soldier who fought in the Civil War, had been buried without a headstone. He was finally given a headstone, with the help of research done by Vance and fellow members of the Hawaii Civil War Round Table.