University of Hawaiʻi nominates employees for 2011 Governor's Awards

University of Hawaiʻi
Contact:
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
Public Information Officer, External Affairs and University Relations
Kymber-Lee Char, (808) 956-9437
Public Information Officer, External Affairs and University Relations
Posted: Jul 22, 2011

Morris K. Lai
Morris K. Lai
Lui K. Hokoana
Lui K. Hokoana
Leeward Community College  Waianae Education Center Team
Leeward Community College Waianae Education Center Team
HONOLULU – The University of Hawaiʻi has nominated Morris K. Lai from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Lui K. Hokoana from the University of Hawai‘i System (nominated by Windward Community College) and the team members of the Leeward Community College – Wai‘anae Education Center Team for the 2011 Governor’s Awards.
 
Lai was nominated for the Employee of the Year award. He is head of the Research and Evaluation Section of the Curriculum, Research, and Development Group in the College of Education, a Native Hawaiian scholar, and graduate faculty in the Department of Educational Psychology. With more than 36 years of state service and countless hours of selfless dedication to help scholars and educators alike, there is no questioning Lai’s knowledge and passion in preserving the Hawaiian language and culture. One of the best examples of his contributions is known as the “Laiberry” in the College of Education, a collection of nearly 4,000 books on Hawai‘i and Hawaiian education. Established in 2006 with a donation from his family, Lai began a quest in his spare time to locate as many related books as possible for the collection. The wonderful aspect of the Laiberry is that it is open to anyone, including students, to browse and borrow books. Just as substantial to all the accomplishments he has garnered, Lai has been a model “face” representing the university and exemplifies what a true community contributor should be.
 
Hokoana has been nominated for the State Manager of the Year award. As the former vice chancellor for student affairs at Windward Community College, Hokoana demonstrated his uncanny ability as a leader and manager while working on student recruitment, community outreach, accessing grants to enable training and development for faculty and staff, developing a mentoring program, and promoting academic support strategies to improve student development. He has a people-friendly capacity to remember the needs of those he works with, which enable him to manage multiple projects simultaneously and push them toward completion. The results of his efforts are outstanding, and Hokoana has been described as a charming man who exudes goodwill and an interest in the well-being of students as well as a personal commitment to support for faculty and staff. He makes informed decisions and is recognized by others for his strengths as a leader. In May, Hokoana was appointed associate vice president for student affairs for the UH System, where he continues to enhance educational opportunities for the university’s students and the community.
 
The Leeward Community College - Wai‘anae Education Center Team is the nominee for Team of the Year. Laurie Lawrence and her team members – Walterbea Aldeguer, Darwin Bohnet, Jayson Corrales, Genai U‘ilani Keliikuli, Emi Kaneshiro, Scott Kuraoka, William Gregg Longanecker, Summer Miles, Danielle Saito, Jean StavRue-Pe‘ahi, Jennifer Wharton and Danny Wyatt – represent the Leeward Community College - Wai‘anae Education Center. This team has contributed greatly to the 144 percent growth in student enrollment at the Wai‘anae campus. They have also increased the number of class sections by 93 percent, through extending office hours and offering early morning and late evening classes. Much of this success is due to the outreach efforts of counselors who, in addition to recruitment activities at Wai‘anae and Nanakuli High Schools, have gone out into the community visiting homeless shelters and transitional housing organizations to talk to adults about enrolling in community college. This team accomplished these goals with no increase in physical resources and adopted Hawaiian cultural values of aloha (love), kuleana (responsibility), mālama (caring), lōkahi (unity) and hō‘ihi (respect) as the basis for the way they work together. Guided by a core philosophy of “helping students succeed every step of the way,” this group of individuals has exceeded their own objectives and never lost sight of their common goal.
 
The three awards – Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year and Team of the Year – are designed to honor the state’s executive branch employees and managers who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication to serving the people of Hawai‘i. The nominees will be recognized at the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on Friday, October 14, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. at the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium.