Local Boy, Global Man

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Apr 12, 2001

HONOLULU--Not too many people can boast about having a state proclaim a day in their honor, but the people of Molokai and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa have this special person in common. On April 6, 2001, CTAHR will honor Ralph H. Iwamoto, Jr. a native of Molokai, and a 1965 graduate in General Agriculture, as their 2001 CTAHR Outstanding Alumnus.

Throughout the three decades Iwamoto has worked with the United States Department of Agriculture, he has gone from serving as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in Hilo and Honolulu airports to working at the JFK International Airport in New York. From there he moved up the USDA ladder serving in International services in Guam, Jamaica, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and in 1993 was selected as the first Regional Director for the Asia and Pacific Region, being responsible for plant and animal health issues in Japan, China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.

Today he serves as Associate Director of the USDA APHIS International Services Branch. He has garnered many awards, including the State of Hawaii proclaiming November 13, 2000 "Ralph Iwamoto Day" for his outstanding work in the Asia and Pacific region. CTAHR and the University of Hawai'i at Manoa are proud to also be able to honor this outstanding alumnus.

In addition to the awards dinner, a special seminar, reception and open house will be held April 4, 2001, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at CTAHR's new Agricultural Science III complex. Iwamoto will speak on "Supporting Hawaii from Abroad." Laboratories featuring the molecular biosciences, food sciences, human nutrition, and the animal sciences will be open for viewing and information regarding the type of research being conducted. The facility is at 1955 East West Road on the UH Manoa campus, located across the Biomedical Sciences building. The public is invited to attend.

Although some would "rather be riding a mule in Molokai," Iwamoto has taken his love for the "aina," and the plants and animals that grace it, and spread this aloha worldwide. His 2001 CTAHR Outstanding Alumnus award will be just one special way that CTAHR, the university, and the State of Hawai'i can once again, say "mahalo."


NOTE: A black-and-white photo of Iwamoto is available. Please call Miles Hakoda at 956-3093.