University of Hawaii at Hilo Article

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University of Hawaii at Hilo
University of Hawaii seal.svg
MottoPulelo haʻaheo ke ahi a nā lehua aʻo Hilo
( Hawaiian)
Motto in English
The flame of Hilo's lehua blossoms leaps triumphantly with pride
Type Public university
Established1941 (as Hawaiʻi College)
1947 (as UH Hilo) [1]
1970 (as a four-year institution)
Endowment$180 million [2]
ChancellorMarcia Sakai (interim)
PresidentDavid Lassner
Academic staff
Students3,974 (Fall 2009)
Location Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.
19°41′59″N 155°04′54″W / 19.6996°N 155.0816°W / 19.6996; -155.0816
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT HILO Latitude and Longitude:

19°41′59″N 155°04′54″W / 19.6996°N 155.0816°W / 19.6996; -155.0816
Campus755 acres (3.1 km2)
ColorsRed and Black [3]
Athletics NCAA Division IIPacWest
Nickname Vulcans
Affiliations UH System
University of Hawaii at Hilo logo.png
University of Hawaii at Hilo

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo or UH Hilo is a public co-educational university in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, United States. [4] It is one of ten branches of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It was founded as Hawaiʻi Vocational College (Hawaiʻi College) in 1941. In 1970 it was reorganized by an act of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature.

The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges since 1976. [5] It offers thirty-three undergraduate and three graduate degree programs, and has about 3000 students; most are residents of Hawaiʻi, but there are many international students too.


The University of Hawaii—Hilo is ranked 66th in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges Regional Universities West.

The university specializes in marine science, volcanology, astronomy, and Hawaiian studies. The Masters of Arts program in Hawaiian Language and Literature was the first in the United States to focus on an indigenous language. [6]



The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo offers BA, BBA, BS, and BSN degrees in addition to certificates. Students can also choose minors in some programs.


Vulcans banner

Until 1994 UH Hilo belonged to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics or NAIA. Since 2004 it has been a member of the NCAA Division II, Pacific West Conference. It fields teams in baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball. The team name for the school is the Vulcans. [7]


Shared with UH West Oʻahu 1976–1997.

  • Donald O. Straney (2010–2017)
  • Rose Tseng (1998–2010)
  • Kenneth Perrin (1993–1997)
  • Edward J. Kormondy (1986–1993)
  • Edwin Mookini (1975–1978)
  • Paul Miwa (1970–?)

Argument for separation

There has been a growing movement throughout the last decade to separate the Hilo campus from the University of Hawaiʻi system, creating a "Hawaiʻi State University". Supporters of the separation argue that the growing Hilo campus is "shortchanged" by its sister campus in Mānoa and that being independent of the system would allow the college to grow faster, better serve the community, and draw in more money from independent sources. Opponents argue that the state is too small for competing university systems and that financial divisions between Mānoa and Hilo are fair, given that Mānoa places emphasis on research and Hilo places emphasis on teaching. There are also concerns that this movement will hurt relationships between the Hilo campus and the rest of the University of Hawaiʻi system.

A bill was introduced in the 2005 session of the House of Representatives of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature to draft legislation to spin off the Hilo campus as the independent Hawaiʻi State University. The bill was approved by the House Higher Education Committee but no hearing on the bill was planned by the House Finance Committee, effectively killing it. [8]

Points of interest at UH Hilo

University Park

Main Campus

  • University Classroom Building (UCB)
  • Marine Science Building (MSB)
  • Sciences & Technology Building (STB)
  • Edith Kanakaʻole Hall (EKH)
  • Wentworth Hall
  • Campus Center
  • Student Life Center & Pool
  • Edwin H. Mookini Library & Media Center
  • UH Hilo Student Services Building
  • UH Hilo New Gymnasium
  • UH Hilo Performing Arts Center [9]

See also



  • The University of Hawaiʻi-Hilo – A College in the Making (2001) ISBN  0-8248-2495-4.

External links