Alumni, students, and the community are invited to "Launch" at the University of Hawaii Maui College from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. The college is celebrating its new name, four-year degree programs, and a host of other accomplishments, with music, food, free drawings, silent auction and tours of the college campus.
Festivities will kick off at 4:30 p.m. with a traditional Hawaiian blessing performed by Hawaiian studies faculty members and students. An open-air stage will feature hula by Tori Hulali Canha, Miss Aloha Hula 2011, and music by Grammy-award-winner and director of the new UHMC Institute of Hawaiian Music, George Kahumoku, and friends. At 6:15 p.m., Zenshin Daiko will welcome U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye as the event's the special guest of honor. The evening will finish with music provided by the Hard Rock Cafe.
The award-winning Culinary Arts Academy will cater the event in the Pa'ina Building. Tours will be offered of the telecommunications, electronics/engineering technology, computing, television and culinary facilities, including the Leis Family Class Act Restaurant. College programs and partners, such as the Institute for Astronomy Maui, will showcase their activities. And the Hard Rock Cafe is partnering with Soroptimist International to sponsor a silent auction to fund student scholarships.
The UH Alumni Association will be on hand to enlist college alumni, as well as Maui Technical School and Maui Vocational School graduates, in launching a new alumni association Maui Nui Chapter. The college and association are kicking off a partnership to provide student employment, internships, cooperative education and graduate placement services. Prizes and drawings will be offered.
Higher education and work force development have never been more important. Our students, faculty and staff wanted an opportunity to thank Sen. Inouye and our community leadership for their many years of support for and partnerships with the college. The senator helped start distance learning, degree programs and a range of services on Molokai, Lanai and Maui. He's made many of our programs possible through the years.
The college hopes that this "Launch" will update and bring the community's college - the only public institution of higher learning in Maui County - closer to the students, alumni and residents it serves. Longtime Maui residents may remember when drive-in movie theaters stood where the parking lot and new science building are now being constructed. The original shop buildings of Maui Vocational School still exist - but are slated to become the new Center of Excellence for Sustainability, introducing students to renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles.
The college is an outgrowth of the Maui Vocational School, which opened its doors in 1931. The first name change took place in 1958, when it became the Maui Technical School. In 1965, the college changed names again, this time to Maui Community College, when it joined the University of Hawaii Community College system.
With each name change, the college strengthened and expanded its programs, faculty and degrees. As UH-MC, the college is offering four-year degree programs that can be completed here on Maui. (The college has long offered distance-learning options with the other campuses through our UH Center on Maui.) Having its own baccalaureate programs means that the campus must now develop the resources and services that a four-year college provides. The sense of change and opportunity is especially strong as the college awaits its new class of faculty this fall.
In "launching" the college, we hope to put the wind in our students' sails and focus them on the stars to navigate our future.
* Clyde Sakamoto is chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. Ka'ana Mana'o, which means "sharing thoughts," is scheduled to appear on the fourth Sunday of each month. It is penned by Maui College staff and is intended to provide the community of Maui County information about opportunities available through the college at its Kahului campus and its education centers.