Mayor Mufi Hannemann shared center stage with
nearly 700 graduates at HPU’s recent 66th commencement
ceremony at the Waikiki Shell.
Hannemann highlighted HPU’s 40 years of success in bringing
students from all over the world to study in Honolulu. He congratulated
the graduates on their academic achievements and challenged them
to continue to set high standards and lofty goals in their personal
and professional lives.
HPU President Chatt G. Wright honored Hannemann with the Fellow
of the Pacific Award, HPU’s highest accolade.
Valedictorians for the event included Rachel Brown, Jun Elegino,
and Kamaka Parker.
Brown (B.A. in English), the managing editor for the University’s
literary magazine, Hawai‘i Pacific Review, and a member
of four honor societies, is a woman on a mission. As president
of HPU’s Creative Writing Club for four years, she helped
implement the English Department’s book swaps, student
readings, and writing marathons.
Rachel not only set the bar high,” said HPU English professor
Dr. Kathleen Cassity, “by consistently producing the most
excellent student writing I have ever seen, but she also assumed
a leadership role by mentoring fellow students.”
With a 4.0 G.P.A., Brown knows how to work hard and manage her
time. She donated services to the Kailua Women’s Correctional
Facility’s prison writing project and led the Creative
Writing Club on “ghost walks” through Chinatown,
performing the stories along the way.
While at HPU, Brown won three consecutive undergraduate writing
award, including the Mark David Bauer Award for Environmental
Writing and the Castle & Cooke Hawai‘i Fiction Award
from the O‘ahu Arts Center.
A graduate of Konawaena High School on the Big Island, Brown
recently was awarded a scholarship to the highly prestigious
New York Summer Writers Institute in Saratoga Springs.
Representing the military campus programs, Elegino was one of
more than 100 nursing students to graduate in HPU’s spring
commencement. Elegino (B.S. in Nursing) could be “the poster
child for HPU’s Nursing program,” said HPU interim
nursing Dean Dr. Patricia Lange-Otsuka.
A member of the HPU Spirit Club, Elegino grew up in Mililani
and graduated magna cum laude from Mililani High School. He has
served in the Army National Guard and is a member of three HPU
Elegino said HPU’s built-in support system helped him succeed
in college. He worked as a critical care technician at Straub
Hospital’s intensive care unit through his years at HPU,
and he has accepted a position as a cardiac intensive care nurse
at the University of Missouri Hospital.
Parker (M.B.A. in Management), a graduate of Kamehemeha Schools
completed her undergraduate degree at Pepperdine University.
For graduate school, she said, “HPU appealed to me because
it offered an excellent education in a small, private school
Parker, works as a program specialist at Kamehameha Schools.
She said that HPU helped bridge the gap for her between college
life and the working world.
As an M.B.A. student, I learned the key components of operating
a business. I have applied many of the skills such as planning,
organizing, implementing, budgeting, and writing in my current
position,” she said. “These skills can be applied
in any setting and just having the knowledge and ability is extremely