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Commencement Speakers – Spring 2024

113th Annual Commencement Exercise
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Stan Sheriff Center

Kuhio Lewis, the Spring 2024 Commencement Speaker

Commencement Speaker

Kūhiō Lewis

CEO, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

Kūhiō Lewis serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a non-profit organization committed to advancing the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians.

Since assuming leadership in 2018, Kūhiō has been instrumental in driving CNHA’s impressive growth. In 2023, CNHA’s exceptional progress led to its recognition as one of the top 100 companies in Hawaiʻi. Under Kūhiō’s guidance, the organization has emerged as a leading advocate for policy issues and a significant political influence in both Hawaiʻi and Washington D.C.

Kūhiō’s leadership was acknowledged with a special invitation to the White House in 2021 to meet with President Biden and Vice-President Harris. CNHA’s impactful programs have positively impacted the lives of thousands of residents through employment opportunities and housing for hundreds of families. Furthermore, CNHA recently secured a substantial multimillion-dollar contract to oversee tourism management in Hawaiʻi and they play a key role in supporting Maui’s recovery efforts.

Kūhiō’s exceptional accomplishments have garnered him several prestigious awards, including 20 for the Next 20, 40 Under 40, Hawaiʻi Power Leader, and Most Admired Leader. His contributions have also led to his induction into Hawaiʻi’s esteemed Book of Lists.

Outside of his professional commitments, Kūhiō is a dedicated single father, a homestead lessee, and a proud alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu and Honolulu Community College.

Naomi Woo, Spring 2024 Commencement Student Speaker

Student Speaker – 9:00 a.m. Ceremony

Naomi Woo

Candidate for a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design & Merchandising

Naomi was born in Tokyo, Japan, where she lived most of her life and attended international schools for over 10 years. At 14, she moved to a small town near Philadelphia for high school, experiencing both city and suburban life by age 18. She chose the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for college, drawn to its blend of experiences and values that resonate with her. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising and a minor in Japanese, she enjoys playing piano, volleyball, and spontaneous solo travel. During her time at UH, she explored diverse activities like runway modeling, working as a lead server, and winning a fashion program competition. Post-graduation, she plans to return to Tokyo, utilizing her degree to launch a fashion business.

Destiny Rose Bataya, Spring 2024 Commencement Student Speaker

Student Speaker – 3:30 p.m. Ceremony

Destiny-Rose Bataya

Candidate for Masters of Social Work

Destiny-Rose graduated from Leeward Community College in 2021 with Phi Theta Kappa Honors and an associate degree in Liberal Arts. At Leeward Community College, she led the French Club as president. Upon transferring to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Destiny-Rose became a Presidential Scholar and completed her Bachelor in Social Work (BSW) with a research project on homeless narratives. She was inducted into the Department of Social Work’s honor society, Phi Alpha Nu Sigma. In 2023, Destiny-Rose entered the Department of Social Work Masters program as an Advanced Standing student and served as President of Phi Alpha Nu Sigma. She is a Hawaiʻi Child Welfare Education Collaboration (HCWEC) project recipient. Outside of school, Destiny-Rose enjoys weightlifting and Tahitian dance, competing since age six and now supporting others in the dance community. Destiny-Rose plans to pursue a career in child welfare services and become a licensed clinical social worker to continue helping children and families.