Kauaʻi CC blesses its Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center

Kauaʻi Community College
Cammie Matsumoto, (808) 245-8280
Dir., Community Relations & Special Projects
Posted: Oct 21, 2013

Honored guests tour the facility following the ceremony.
Honored guests tour the facility following the ceremony.

Senator Inouye's nephew Ed Kawamura and 442nd Veteran Whitey Kurasaki attend dedication ceremony.
Senator Inouye's nephew Ed Kawamura and 442nd Veteran Whitey Kurasaki attend dedication ceremony.

LIHUE, Hawaiʻi  – Kauaʻi Community College celebrated the opening of its Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center on Oct. 18, 2013, in a dedication and blessing ceremony in honor of the support and advocacy provided by the late Senator Daniel Inouye.

Senator Inouye's wife, Irene Hirano Inouye and his son, Ken Inouye, presented Kauaʻi CC with a commemorative gift, the Franklin Roosevelt Freedom from Fear Medal, which was given to the Senator in 1997. It was accompanied by one of the Senator's favorite, most poignant words by President Roosevelt when he allowed the formation of a Japanese-American Army regiment, the 442nd Regiment, that reads: "Americanism is a matter of mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry."

“We are honored by the presence of Mrs. Irene Inouye and son Ken at today’s dedication and blessing of the Kauaʻi CC Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center," said Kauaʻi CC Chancellor Helen A. Cox. "The naming of the Center will forever symbolize our heartfelt aloha for the late Senator Inouye, who saw in Kauaʻi and Kauaʻi CC, tremendous potential to lead in advancing technology for the Pacific Region. It is with his confidence in us that we go forward to provide our students with the best that higher education offers."

The 18,000-square-foot Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center is home of Kauaʻi CC’s electronics program, which offers basic to advanced courses that prepare students for entry into jobs requiring knowledge of analog and digital electronics, computer and networking technologies, programming, optics, and telecommunications.  These programs are articulated with UH Maui College’s baccalaureate electronics/computer engineer technology or engineering programs. Kauaʻi CC is also an authorized Cisco Networking Academy offering various levels of globally recognized industry certification training that also applies to academic certificates and degrees. The Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory, which focuses on space exploration, is also housed in the Center and serves as a satellite tracking and control facility for the Hawaiʻi Space Flight Lab rocket launches from the Pacific Missile Research Facility (PMRF).  The electronics program has graduated 84 students and has 49 students currently enrolled.

Dr. Francis Takahashi, recently retired electronics faculty member, said: “In 1985, Kauaʻi CC didn’t have an electronics program as we know it today. As a proponent of high technology in Hawaiʻi supporting the observatories, Maui Super Computer, PMRF and other high technology industries, Senator Inouye’s vision helped provide students with job opportunities across the state including on Kauaʻi. He was our guide star.”

According to Takahashi, the Senator, a proponent of PMRF, brought in projects that secured the program's national standing. Industries such as Boeing and Envisioneering began collaborating with the College. These entities supported internships, where students were able to gain field experience. Boeing gave the College a substantial donation of equipment to establish and build a state-of-the-art photonics and optics laboratory, which allowed the College to offer courses of study.

The momentum created by the Senator’s support of PMRF has oriented the Kauaʻi CC electronics program toward satellite telemetry and a partnership in the NASA-funded Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory whose mission is to establish a satellite ground station for telemetry with UH’s and other satellites.  This partnership is a significant example of how UH fulfills its unique position as a land grant, sea grant, and space grant institution. 

“The Electronics program is blessed with resources and technologies that are rarely found at community colleges and that rival labs in universities, " said Dr. Georgeanne Friend, Kauaʻi CC faculty member. " Our students and community are extremely fortunate to have access to such a wonderful facility."

In addition to his advocacy of new technology, Senator Inouye was also a strong believer in integrating traditional Hawaiian healing practices with modern western medical practices and technology. Kahu Kauila Clarke, vice chairperson of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and chairperson of the National Association of Community Health Centers said:  “With respect to modern technology and the Native Hawaiian community, he wanted us to maintain a balance by keeping both streams alive. Inouye truly cared for the people of Hawaiʻi.  He never forgot.”

The balance is evident on Kauaʻi, with its community health center in Kapaʻa and the well-attended annual Aloha ‘Ike event, where high tech companies donate funds to support high schools and students.

“Technology is affecting us daily and someone needs to understand, monitor, configure, and troubleshoot that technology," said Mark Anderson, electronics faculty member. "Our goal at the Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center is to optimize the Center’s technologies and resources to prepare students to keep the world connected and balanced tomorrow.”

Senator Inouye also endorsed Hawaiʻi's Rural Development Project, which supported rural communities. Among the numerous projects supported by funds awarded to Kauaʻi CC, $53,000 was used to establish, build, and develop the College’s Apiary Project.  The Project conducts research and provides educational outreach to help develop and maintain healthy bee populations.  The Apiary Laboratory is located next to the Daniel K. Inouye Technology Center.