REPORT FROM HPU – When 482 students assemble on Tuesday, Dec. 18, to take part in Hawai’i Pacific University’s winter graduation ceremony, they’ll hear a commencement address from a man who has dedicated nearly four decades of public service to the people of this state, Governor Neil Abercrombie.
Students participating in commencement are part of a graduating class of 721 in disciplines ranging from computer science to anthropology to marine biology. Combined with the 950 men and women who were part of Spring Commencement, the university will have produced nearly 1,700 highly educated, profession-ready graduates in 2012. Now Hawai’i’s largest private university, HPU graduated its first class 40 years ago — a group of seven students. Today, students study at its Downtown and Hawaii Loa Campuses, six military bases around Oahu and its research affiliate, the Oceanic Institute. The university is also pursuing redevelopment of Aloha Tower Marketplace, where additional classrooms and student lofts might exist alongside retail and community gathering spaces.
Inaugurated as governor two years ago, Abercrombie began his career in public service as a member of the state House of Representatives in 1975, after earning masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Hawaii. He served two years on the Honolulu City Council and 20 years in Congress, stepping down in 2010 after winning election as governor.
He has been a longtime advocate for education, with special focuses on distance learning and early childhood education, including the Healthy Start prevention program for at-risk children and mothers. In Congress, he served as chairman of the Armed Forces Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces and was a senior member on the Natural Resources Committee.
HPU’s Commencement begins at 6 p.m. at the Neal Blaisdell Arena, 777 Ward Ave., Honolulu.
Hawai’i Pacific University is the state’s largest private university with more than 8,000 students from the United States and more than 80 foreign nations. HPU is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Council on Social Work Education, the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.