Governor Proclaims April 23 as University of Hawai'i Community Colleges Day

University of Hawaiʻi
Susan A Lee, (808) 956-5852
University of Hawai'i Community Colleges
Dan Meisenzahl, (808) 956-5941
UH System
Posted: Apr 23, 2014

(Photo below provided by Governor's Office)
(Photo below provided by Governor's Office)
Leaders from UH System and Community Colleges receive UHCC Day Proclamation.
Leaders from UH System and Community Colleges receive UHCC Day Proclamation.

Link to b-roll:  (Soundbites and b-roll information below)

HONOLULU—In a ceremony at the Hawai'i State Capitol, Hawai'i's Governor Neil Abercrombie proclaimed April 23 as The University of Hawai'i Community Colleges Day in recognition of the UH Community Colleges System's 50th Anniversary.

On this exact day in 1964, Governor John A. Burns signed into law a major legislative act that would forever change the educational landscape of the entire state of Hawai'i. It provided the opportunity for all citizens to have access to a college education.

Today, the community colleges' open-door policy and affordable tuition attract all types of students to seek higher education, from the traditional high school graduate to the nontraditional working adult. More than 60 percent of community college students go to school part-time while working part- or full-time jobs.

"I'm proud of our students. They work hard to overcome many obstacles in their lives just to be in the classroom," says John Morton, vice president for community colleges.  "We have a responsibility to our students to keep the doors of opportunity open, to provide the best and most responsive services and programs, to help them successfully complete their degrees and go forward to fulfill their ambitions."

When UHCC was established 50 years ago, its mission was defined by three broad categories: preparation for transfer, preparation for a career, and community services.  While the overall mission remains the same, the colleges have transformed into dynamic, innovative institutions, offering students multiple pathways to bachelor's degrees and careers, as well as opportunities to access cutting-edge technologies.

The forces of change through time have also transformed program offerings at the community colleges. Today, the community colleges offer more than 70 fields of study, from the traditional career and technical programs to new high-tech high-demand programs in digital media, veterinary technology, computer technology, science, math and Hawaiian studies.

"Our degrees remain as viable today as ever, and have become even more valuable in terms of its relevancy to today's industries and the skills required to compete globally" said Morton.

Indeed, times have changed since the signing of the Hawai'i Community College Act in 1964. Today, the University of Hawai'i Community College System:

  • is seven campuses strong, serving more than 33,000 students annually;
  • is the largest sector of the UH System, providing education for more than half of all its undergraduate students;
  • is partnering with business and industry in support of Hawai'i's workforce development initiatives;
  • has graduates that are renowned around the world for their skills, talent and brilliance;
  • has expanded its mission to include economic development for the state and its region; and
  • is moving forward to provide even more opportunities for student success.

For more information on the UH Community Colleges new and enhanced academic programs and student support services, please visit


Link to b-roll:
(Soundbites and b-roll information below)


Governor Neil Abercrombie:
“Therefore, with great pleasure, I do hereby proclaim April 23rd 2014 as University of Hawaii Community Colleges day in Hawaiʻi, and ask all our citizens in the Aloha State to join all of us in celebrating student, faculty, staff, and community partnersʻ excellence in community colleges with congratulations and accommodations to the faculty and the administration for their dedicated service.”  (33 seconds)

John Morton, V.P. for Community Colleges:
“We wanted to be sure that the opportunities for a good life and the opportunities for higher education were available to all citizens regardless of their ethnic background, regardless of their income level, regardless of where they lived.  And I think that was the underlying, a big part of why the community colleges were created.”  (22 seconds)

David Lassner, UH Interim President:
“I donʻt think anyone couldʻve imagined 50 years ago the impact and influence of the community colleges and providing an opportunity to enter into higher education and to continue on throughout other parts of the system is something no other state can accomplish as well as we can and the community colleges are an integral part of all of that.”    (20 seconds)

For more information, visit: