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Spring graduation - live around the world

by Kalamalama staff

A starlit sky over the Waikiki Shell, faculty in colorful doctoral regalia, hundreds of graduating students and thousands of family and friends—all a stage for the whole world as Hawai‘i Pacific University broadcast its Spring Commencement live on the World Wide Web last May.

“HPU is most excited to have presented this first live Webcast of its graduation ceremony,” said Stephen R. Simpson, vice president for Learning Support Services.


By logging on the HPU Web site on May 16 from 6 to 9 p.m., viewers were able to see HPU confer associate, baccalaureate, and master degrees on nearly 700 students at the university’s 48th commencement ceremony. According to Hawai‘i-based PixelWorld Networks, the company responsible for the webcasting, viewers could download Windows Media 7 Player, the program needed to view the live video footage, free from the HPU Web site.

Click on image for larger view


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 said.

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.

Summer graduation

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 alumni.

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.


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