The diverse make-up of HPU’s students, who come from all
50 states and more than 100 countries, sometimes make it challenging
for their families to attend graduation ceremonies, according
to Simpson. “This year, we decided that we would bring the
graduation ceremony to them no matter where they are,” he
The live Webcast was a great opportunity for students like
Hitin Kumar, whose family in Bangalore, India, was unable
to make it to the ceremonies due to the high cost of travel.
“It’s wonderful that everyone back home was able to see me
graduate, especially since I’m the first in the family to
get a graduate degree,” said Kumar, who received a Master
of Business Administration. “My family has never been to Hawai‘i
so this way, they got a glimpse of it, like the colorful leis
that are traditionally worn at graduation,” he added.
Some of the evening’s highlights included the awarding of
HPU’s highest accolade, the Fellow of the Pacific Award, to
Army Major General Nancy R. Adams who was the keynote speaker;
the awarding of HPU’s Teacher of the Year Award; and the speeches
of three valedictory speakers, chosen to represent the on-campus
baccalaureate degree programs, the satellite degree programs,
and the graduate degree programs.
On August 16, HPU conferred degrees on nearly 400 students
at its 49th commencement ceremony at the Waikiki Shell. Keynote
speaker was Paul C.T. Loo, senior vice president of Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter and one of the founders of the university.
Loo was presented HPU’s highest honor, the “Fellow of the
Pacific Award,” in recognition of his outstanding contribution
to Hawai‘i and to higher education.
Three valedictory speakers were chosen for outstanding academic
performance and community service – Kathrin Buettner, B.S.B.A.
Travel Industry Management, Chris Kastl, B.S. Computer Science,
and Guilherme Albieri, M.A. Organizational Change. They represented,
respectively, HPU’s main and satellite campus undergraduate
programs and its graduate degree programs.
Loo played a prominent role in establishing Hawai‘i Pacific
nearly 36 years ago as one of the university’s four founders.
That key role and his other contributions to the university
has led to the creation of The Paul C.T. Loo Distinguished
Alumni Awards, an annual award recognizing outstanding HPU
Loo is currently a director of C. Brewer Ltd., a trustee
of the Clarence Ching Foundation, Kukui Gardens Housing Development
Company, and a member of the Hawaii Business Roundtable. He
attended Punahou School, earned his B.A. with distinction
at Dartmouth College and his M.B.A. at the Wharton Graduate
School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania where
he serves as an associate trustee.