University of Hawaii at Hilo

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University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Seal of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Seal of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Motto Pulelo haʻaheo ke ahi a nā lehua aʻo Hilo
Motto in English
The flame of Hilo's lehua blossoms leaps triumphantly with pride
Established 1941 (as Hawaiʻi College)
1947 (as UH Hilo)[1]
1970 (as a four-year institution)
Type Public, Co-ed
State university system
Endowment $180 million[2]
Chancellor Donald O. Straney
(since July 2010)
President David Lassner
Academic staff
Average class size of 22
Students 3,974 (Fall 2009)
Undergraduates 3,396
Postgraduates 454
Location Hilo, Hawaii, USA
19°41′59″N 155°04′54″W / 19.6996°N 155.0816°W / 19.6996; -155.0816Coordinates: 19°41′59″N 155°04′54″W / 19.6996°N 155.0816°W / 19.6996; -155.0816
Campus 755 acres (3.1 km2)

Red and Black[3]

‹See Tfm›     ‹See Tfm›    
Athletics NCAA Division IIPacWest
Sports 13 varsity teams
Nickname Vulcans
Affiliations UH System
Nameplate of the University of Hawaiʻi 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 specializes in marine biology, 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.[1]


  • College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management
  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Business and Economics
  • Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language
  • College of Pharmacy
  • College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS)


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.[2]


Shared with UH West Oʻahu 1976–1997.

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

"Hawaiʻi State University?"[edit]

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. [3]

Points of interest at UH Hilo[edit]

University Park[edit]

Main Campus[edit]

  • University Classroom Building (UCB)
  • Marine Science Building (MSB)
  • Science & 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[6]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]