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Malamalama: A History of the University of Hawai`i

Robert M. Kamins
Robert E. Potter
Members of the University community
Copyright Date: 1998
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In 1907 Hawai‘i's fledgling College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, boasting an enrollment of five students and a staff of twelve, opened in a rented house on Young Street. The hastily improvised college, and the university into which it grew, owed its existence to the initiative of Native Hawaiian legislators, the advocacy of a Caucasian newspaper editor, the petition of an Asian American bank cashier, and the energies of a president and faculty recruited from Cornell University in distant Ithaca, New York. Today, nearly a century later, some 50,000 students are enrolled yearly at ten campuses--in a unique system of community colleges and professional schools. Malamalama: A History of the University of Hawai‘i documents the many contributions the University has made over the decades to culture and education in the islands. From its start, the University rejected the racial stereotyping and prejudice common in territorial Hawai‘i, thus fostering an ease of association among students of diverse backgrounds and providing, through student government and campus societies, a venue where future political leaders of the islands could hone their skills. The story of how the University of Hawai‘i grew from a regional undergraduate college to an internationally recognized graduate and research university, weathering repeated crises along the way, is told by emeritus professors Kamins and Potter in Part I. They highlight the University's relationship with the legislature, the actions and personalities of its very different presidents, and the effects of social upheaval and changing budgets on an evolving institution. Three alumni provide personal accounts of their years at the University. Parts II and III offer particular histories by knowledgeable contributors, including faculty members and administrators, of the Hilo and West Oahu campuses, of each fo the seven community colleges, and of programs at the Manoa campus. The strands of history woven together here reveal the University's abiding determination to serve as a cultural link across the Pacific and among Hawai‘i's own ethnic communities. The University seal, dominated by the Hawaiian word malamalama, "light of knowledge," depicts a map of the Pacific hemisphere, celebrating the great diversity of people and cultures that contributed to its founding and the westward reach of its connections.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6350-0
    Subjects: Education, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    O. A. Bushnell

    This history of our university is written for all of us who have been influenced by it. Whether we are alumni, dropouts, or eager learners enrolled there now, or are teachers, researchers, secretaries, administrators, technicians, or custodians of its ten campuses, or are simply interested bystanders, we have been affected in countless ways by the services it performs for all the people who live in these islands of Hawaii.

    Many voices join here to tell the University’s story. Reflecting the many different functions of the the University, and the innumerable people who have helped to create it, this account draws...

    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Robert M. Kamins and Robert E. Potter
  5. Part I. The Manoa Campus and the University System

    • 1 ORIGINS AND EARLY YEARS: 1907–1946
      (pp. 3-51)

      Hawaii at the beginning of the twentieth century needed an institution of higher learning. The further integration into the United States desired by those who had sided against the Hawaiian monarchy, if it was to work politically, required the further development of American culture here. Across the nation, every state and incorporated territory except Hawaii and Alaska had a college. Without one of its own, the far offshore Territory of Hawaii would present itself as not only remote and exotic but also as backwater and uncultured, territorial indeed.

      A college would crown an Island educational establishment that already was remarkable...

      (pp. 52-101)

      The University emerged from World War II with a disheveled campus, a depleted faculty, and the promise of better times to come. As in colleges across the nation, the invigorating force was to be a tide of students returning from the war. The GI Bill of Rights offered veterans unprecedented financial support—covering tuition ($50 a semester), books, and supplies, plus enough cash for a frugal student life—and thus provided the University with a speedily enlarged student body. By September 1947 enrollment on the Manoa campus had surpassed its prewar level, rising to three thousand students, a third of...

    • 3 EXPERIENCING MATURITY: 1969–1995
      (pp. 102-134)

      When the regents accepted Thomas Hamilton’s resignation in May 1968, Vice-President for Academic Affairs Robert Hiatt was named acting president. Student protests on a number of campus issues continued, notably on course requirements for graduation and the lack of student housing, but in a lower key. Committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech, Hiatt was open to students and faculty who raised questions about the University as well as about larger social issues. In a statement quoted in theHonolulu Advertiser,he defended those rights but opposed unlawful actions.

      As a university we certainly recognize the right of people...

  6. Part II. Manoa Colleges and Programs

      (pp. 137-143)
      Rubellite K. Johnson

      The University of Hawai‘i may not leap to mind as a guardian of Hawaii’s indigenous speech and culture, but that in fact has been its historical role. Only the University’s abiding commitment to teach Hawaiian has kept it alive as a disciplined language spoken now by increasing thousands of people in these islands.

      At the beginning of this century, when the University was starting up, Hawaiian was alive in Hawaiian-speech communities, still numerous but in decline. There was also a “mixed” linguistic sharing between the native Hawaiian population and those haoles who could speak the language fluently. Indeed, in the...

      (pp. 144-147)
      Norman Meller

      Organized interest in the Pacific at the University of Hawai‘i dates from 1932, when the University, with the assistance of the Carnegie Corporation, established a School of Pacific and Oriental Affairs. Initial attention was focused on large Asian nations bordering the Pacific, which then eclipsed island areas within the vast ocean. Nevertheless, out of this slowly evolved what became the nation’s premier Pacific Islands program.

      After World War II, President Gregg Sinclair appointed a faculty committee to consider the establishment of area-study programs. It identified the Far East and the Pacific Islands as promising regions and, after investigating the resources...

      (pp. 148-153)
      Robert M. Kamins

      From its early days the University was envisioned as an institution of higher learning that would connect America with Asia. Hawaii’s intercontinental position and its multiethnic environment, in which scholars from Asia could find languages, cuisines, and religions familiar to them among the exotica of America-in-Polynesia, argued for developing here a university to span the Pacific. William Kwai Fong Yap’s 1919 petition made that connection a chief justification for transforming the College of Hawaii into a university: “Islands located at a point where the civilizations and commerce of the United States, the Orient and the islands of the Pacific meet,...

      (pp. 154-162)
      Wilfred J. Holmes

      Engineering and agriculture share the distinction of being the progenitors of all higher education in Hawaii. When the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of the Territory of Hawaii opened its first full academic year in September 1908, four of the five regular students were engineering students, but John Mason Young was the only engineer in a faculty of thirteen. After the school moved its expanding program to the Manoa campus in 1911, Young taught approximately half of all the engineering courses. He served as dean of the College when it had no president and as acting president during the...

      (pp. 163-175)
      Wallace C. Mitchell

      The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) has origins predating those of the University. It was shaped by federal legislation that profoundly affected agricultural research and the spread of higher education throughout the United States.

      The Hatch Act of 1887 authorized establishing agricultural experiment stations across the nation. At the turn of the century, the Department of Agriculture asked Dr. W. C. Stubbs, director of the Louisiana station, to determine the need for one in the new Territory of Hawaii. He visited the Islands and reported to Congress in 1901. Recognizing that the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA)...

      (pp. 176-184)
      Deane E. Neubauer

      The College of Arts and Sciences was established at the founding of the University in 1920, when the College of Hawaii was expanded from a technical school, concentrating on the training of engineers and agricultural specialists, to a broader institution of learning that—in the words of the statute that created the University—would also provide “thorough instruction” in the “physical, natural, economic, political and social sciences, language, literature, history, philosophy. . . .”

      With that mandate, Arts and Sciences immediately became the principal part of the instructional force of the Manoa campus, larger by far than the other college,...

      (pp. 185-189)
      James R. Linn

      In the 1930s a faculty committee allowed talented undergraduates to substitute for their major a two-year course of independent study culminating in the award of “Special Honors,” but for the next two decades the honors degree depended solely upon grade-point average. By the mid-1950s, however, faculty members at Manoa, like those across the country, had become disturbed by the neglect of our most promising students. In 1957 Provost Willard Wilson convened two committees of faculty and administrators, the first of which proposed a lower-division program of Selected Studies, and the other an Honors Program for juniors and seniors. Professor Judson...

      (pp. 190-195)
      Robert W. Hiatt

      When Bruce White retired as graduate dean in 1954, President Gregg Sinclair asked me to serve and added the title of director of research. Prior to that time, in 1948, the Hawaii Marine Laboratory, the first major research unit on the campus, had been organized as a budget entity. We had no particular physical facility. It was just people like me in zoology and botany working in the marine area. We composed a little group. The quarter-time reduction in teaching load we were granted for research was allotted to that budget. We had almost nothing to buy equipment with. We...

      (pp. 196-208)
      E. Alison Kay

      The Hawaiian Islands have been recognized since the late eighteenth century as unique in natural history. The archipelago is the most isolated group of islands on earth; new islands are periodically generated by volcanic activity, providing new habitats for colonization; and they possess an array of animals and plants found nowhere else in the world. This remarkable island biota played a major role in the development of the natural sciences at the University from its founding in 1907 as the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts to its present status as a major research university.

      The form the biological sciences...

    • 13 ASTRONOMY
      (pp. 209-214)
      Robert M. Kamins

      From its earliest years, the College of Hawaii offered astronomy as a course of instruction. Among the small faculty, not yet divided into departments, a mathematician or physicist would teach an introductory course with the aid of a small observatory in nearby Kaimuki. A six-inch refractor, bought by public subscription in 1910, had been installed there on a rise near Diamond Head to observe Halley’s comet. Both it and a somewhat better telescope moved there from Punahou School were available to faculty of the College/University, but the optics were inadequate for scientific studies. (Struck by lightning, the derelict observatory was...

      (pp. 215-220)
      Dale E. Hall

      In the early days, music on campus was an extracurricular activity—glee clubs or bands. Leona Crawford directed a men’s glee club from 1917 until she became busy with her duties as wife of the president. During 1920–1921 a coed glee club introduced Monday noon hour “songfests” under the leadership of Charles E. King, later a celebrated Hawaiian composer, who as territorial senator had cosponsored the bill creating the University.

      A strong U.S. military presence made military bands common in the Islands. An ROTC drum and bugle corps organized during 1923–1924 under a student bandmaster was the forerunner...

      (pp. 221-228)
      Robert M. Kamins

      Theatre came early to the Manoa campus and flourished. As far back as 1913 performances were staged by Theta Alpha Phi (a drama club), by the College of Hawaii Dramatic Club, or by the College itself. In the mid-1920s, a score of theatrical pieces were shown each year, most of them skits or one-act plays, but by 1927 and 1928 the offerings extended to full productions of Shakespeare and modern plays, such as Barrie’sThe Admirable Crichton.Actors faced their audience in a lecture room in Hawaii Hall, unless a larger house was needed, when the venue shifted to the...

      (pp. 229-233)
      Victor N. Kobayashi and Robert E. Potter

      University summer sessions are uniquely American, with roots in three educational movements: the Lyceum lecture and public forum movement begun in 1826; the remarkable Chautauqua movement, which began in 1874 as a summer conference for Sunday school teachers and grew into a major program in adult education; and teachers’ summer institutes led by educator Henry Barnard at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1839. These programs spread across the nation and then moved to college campuses, largely unused during the summer. Harvard was the first to start summer programs in 1869. William Rainey Harper, who had been involved in the Chautauqua movement, made...

      (pp. 234-240)
      William Hamilton

      On July 1, 1947, President Gregg M. Sinclair wrote to the territorial attorney general: “I feel it is one of the important obligations of a university to publish under its imprint books written by members of its faculty and by others who make valuable contributions to knowledge and understanding . . . work which, while of great value to society, would not ordinarily be undertaken by private enterprise and therefore would not otherwise see the light of day.” In response came the attorney general’s opinion that establishing a press was within the power of the Board of Regents. The board...

  7. Part III. Beyond Manoa:: Hilo, West O‘ahu, the Community Colleges

      (pp. 243-251)
      Frank T. Inouye

      Until 1970, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo (UHH) was a satellite of the Manoa campus that combined a two-year liberal arts curriculum with the offerings of a community college. This curious mixture of programs was the result of an ill-conceived move in 1965 to ensure the survival of a burgeoning and popular college curriculum on the Big Island.

      Post–high school noncredit courses had been offered in Hilo as early as 1945 under the University’s Adult Education Service, which became the UH Extension Division. Three years later, the Hilo Center was organized at Lyman Hall of the Hilo Boys...

      (pp. 252-258)
      Daniel B. Boylan

      The University strained under the mounting demands of poststatehood Hawaii. With the main campus at Manoa already overcrowded, by the mid-1960s the wave of students seeking higher education forced UH administrators and downtown political leaders to consider the need for both a community college system and a second four-year campus. In 1966 the legislature funded a study to determine the feasibility of a four-year liberal arts college in Leeward Oahu. In the same year, UHAcademic Development Plan Icalled for a second baccalaureate-granting campus on the island. After approval by the Manoa Faculty Senate, the Council of Deans, and...

      (pp. 259-304)
      Robert R. Fearrien and Ruth Lucas

      Hawaii was late in beginning a system of community colleges, doing so only in 1964, when three-fourth of the states already had them in operation. The national community college movement began just after World War II, stimulated largely by the Veterans Re-adjustment Act of 1944—the GI Bill of Rights—which provided financial support for veterans resuming their interrupted schooling. President Truman’s 1946 letter of appointment to the Commission on Higher Education called for

      opening of the doors of higher education to members of society who, throughout American history, had lingered on the periphery of the American dream for all:...

      (pp. 305-310)

      The University of Hawai‘i, unique as America’s mid-ocean, tropical, multicultural university, also typifies the development of the nation’s public institutions of higher learning from small colleges to large, research-centered “multiversities.” Beginning, like most state colleges, as a school devoted to training agricultural specialists and engineers, it evolved into a university offering a broader liberal education (1920) and soon acquired its first professional school, Teachers College (1931).

      Emphasis on undergraduate teaching continued through the middle of the century, even as the Manoa campus expanded after World War II to receive the wave of military veterans who transformed the student body. Three...

  8. Appendixes

    • Appendix 1 Presidents of the University of Hawai‘i
      (pp. 313-314)
    • Appendix 2 Regents of the University of Hawai‘i
      (pp. 315-317)
    • Appendix 3 Enrollment of Regular Students in the University of Hawai‘i System
      (pp. 318-321)
    • Appendix 4 Degrees Conferred by the University of Hawai‘i
      (pp. 322-325)
    • Appendix 5 Compensated Faculty and Staff University of Hawai‘i System
      (pp. 326-330)
  9. NOTES
    (pp. 331-338)
    (pp. 339-342)
    (pp. 343-344)
    (pp. 345-346)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 347-359)