UH vice president for information technology receives president's "Making the Elephant Dance" Award

University of Hawaiʻi
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-8109
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jul 6, 2009

HONOLULU — University of Hawaiʻi President David McClain has selected David Lassner, the university‘s vice president for information technology and chief information officer, as the recipient of the President‘s "Making the Elephant Dance" Award for the second quarter of 2009. The award was created by McClain to acknowledge individuals who successfully develop innovative ways to improve the university‘s service to students and the community.

The award is named after the book "Who Says Elephants Can‘t Dance? Leading a Great Enterprise Through Dramatic Change," by the former CEO of IBM, Lou Gerstner, who chronicles his efforts to make IBM‘s very large corporate bureaucracy more responsive to customers and the marketplace.

Lassner is recognized for his remarkable efforts in using both technology and better business practices to make the university more efficient and responsive to the needs of its students, faculty and staff. He is constantly looking at all variables of a business process and for ways to streamline systems and operations.

"David also has an eye towards sustainability and has led the university‘s e-waste recycling efforts," said President McClain. "His stewardship of the Maui High Performance Computing Center, UH‘s largest grant ever received, has been acknowledged with exceptional ratings by Federal authorities. And most recently, he has vigorously assumed responsibility for the university‘s disaster management efforts."‘

Under his leadership, Information Technology Services provides campus-wide technology support for Hawaiʻi's flagship research university, UH Mānoa and addresses the statewide needs of the University of Hawaiʻi System, which provides all public higher education in Hawaiʻi through its 10 campuses and five education centers on six islands.

Lassner is also active in a variety of local, national and international activities related to development of broadband and information technologies. He was recently recognized for his election to the board of FirstMile.US, a 501(c)3 nonprofit focused on promoting high-speed broadband.

Past recipients of the President's "Making the Elephant Dance" award, which is given quarterly, include:

  • University of Hawaiʻi System Bursar Barbara Kawamoto;

  • Hawaiʻi Community College Student Services Specialist Doodie Downs;

  • UH Mānoa Student Sustainability Coordinator Shanah Trevenna;

  • UH Mānoa Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services David Hafner; and

  • UH Mānoa Head of Sinclair Library and Music Librarian Gregg Geary.

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