Message from Joachim Cox

June 05, 2015

Board of Trustees

June 5, 2015

Dear HPU ‘Ohana,

It was a bittersweet moment when Geoff Bannister informed me of his decision to retire from Hawaiʻi Pacific University at the end of June, 2016. While as a friend and colleague I wish him well as he returns to his beloved academic pursuits and spends more time with his family, I also know the loss HPU will feel in his absence. HPU is well-positioned to continue the trajectory that Geoff has helped set for us..

Shortly after Geoff took the helm at HPU, we collectively faced a number of unforeseen challenges. Fortunately, in that new reality Geoff demonstrated his skills, passion, and creativity, bringing together a team that would allow the university to address its fiscal issues and emerge stronger and more resilient than before. It was a time of high stakes, frequent adjustments, and hard decisions. We were fortunate to have a person like Geoff leading the way.

At the same time, Geoff began the long process of making a reality of HPU’s longtime dream of an anchor space Downtown. His vision was to reimagine the troubled Aloha Tower Marketplace as a multi-use facility that would both house students and provide the university with an urban space it could call home. I know we all share his pride as the revitalized Aloha Tower Marketplace prepares to open this August—on schedule—in time for our 50th Anniversary celebration.

No great leader acts alone, and one of Geoff’s strengths has been his ability to assemble and foster a team of accomplished professionals who have helped guide HPU through its recent challenges. And despite having to make decisions that are not likely to win any popularity contests, Geoff has remained engaged with the faculty, staff and students who are at the heart of HPU’s mission and our success.

Hawaiʻi Pacific University is stronger today than it was when Geoff came on board in 2011. Much of that can be attributed to the clarity of his vision and the strength of his leadership. In years to come, as faculty reaps the benefits of shared governance; students enjoy educational success under the General Education program; the university develops under our strategic plan and grows under our master plan; we will look back and again thank Geoff Bannister for his leadership during this important time.

In the months ahead, the Board of Trustees will engage with our HPU community in seeking our next president. We are committed to an inclusive process that respects the stake of many individuals and groups in the selection of the unique individual who will continue to guide our university to our best future.

There is much time over this next year for us to join together to recognize his vision, achievements and to thank him for his leadership and his continued stewardship of this great university. Nevertheless, I ask you to join me now in thanking President Bannister for his vision, service and passion. Hawaiʻi Pacific University is an even stronger university today than it was four years ago.

Warmest regards,

Joachim Cox