Lassner Appointed New University of Hawaii President

Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer David Lassner
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David Lassner
David Lassner

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents by a vote of 11 to 2 with 2 abstentions appointed David Lassner as the next President of the University of Hawaii System at a special board meeting today.  The board discussed extensively its thoughts on the 11-month search process for the next president, which involved extensive community outreach and feedback from the public on what it wants to see in the next university leader.

Board Chair John Holzman said, “We had two extremely competent and qualified finalists and given another time and set of circumstances, Frank Wiercinski might indeed have been the overwhelming choice. But for where the university is now, and the road we have ahead to rebuild public trust, accountability and transparency, David Lassner is the leader we need.” Joining Holzman in the vote for Lassner were Vice Chairs James Lee and Saedene Ota, Regents’ Committee on Presidential Selection Chair Carl Carlson, and Regents Chuck Gee, Jan Sullivan, Eugene Bal, Jeffrey Acido, John Dean, Randy Moore, and Barry Mizuno who participated via live Polycom link from a conference room at New York University, where he was on a planned trip.


Regents Tom Shigemoto and Coralie Matayoshi voted for Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski and Regents Ben Kudo and Jeffrey Portnoy abstained from voting for either candidate, citing concerns with the selection process itself.

Lassner said, “I give my best regards and utmost respect to Frank Wiercinski for participating in this open process and for his willingness to serve.  I am humbled and honored by the trust being placed in me by the Board of Regents.  I pledge to listen, learn and collaborate to achieve excellence at UH as we execute on our shared vision to serve all the people of Hawaii in a manner that exemplifies superb stewardship of public resources.”

Regents worked out the following terms of appointment in Executive Session after the public discussion and vote. They include:

$375,000 annual salary
Term: continuous with annual review
Sub-Committee of the Board to negotiate terms of the appointment
Delegation to Chair of Board to execute agreed upon terms

The appointment is effective July 1, 2014.

Wiercinski thanked the Board of Regents for the honor and privilege of being a finalist for the critical position of University of Hawaii President and also thanked the Chancellors and their teams, Vice Presidents, Faculty Senate Chairs, Student Caucus leadership, UHPA and HGEA leadership, UH Foundation, Alumni Association, and the BOR’s staff.

“I will always recall their passion and dedication, and their dignity and respect during our conversations,” he said. “I would like to particularly thank those who nominated me for this position, asked me to serve, and further acknowledge their support and confidence in my leadership abilities.  I am in awe of their courage and efforts to move the University forward, and so very grateful for their unyielding support.”

“Jeannine and I wish to congratulate David Lassner as he assumes the permanent President’s position.  We wish him and the University of Hawaii great success and Aloha.”





  1. Lassner is clearly deeply familiar with the University of Hawaii and has earned the support of its personnel to the highest levels. There is no doubting his lifelong commitment to this hallowed institution. However, he is now assuming a new position making a review of his past performance there fair game. At no time during this process has the media, the BOR, or anyone presenting testimony address his time as Chief or Head of Information Systems. When he took on that position over 15 years ago, he made and executed a plan to make the school a leader in information systems, this occurred during the tech boom. He selected an expensive and proprietary operating system server based technology to be the be all end all architecture. Today, the University of Hawaii is not known for being a leader in MIS, CIS, Cybersecurity, or for having even a better than average student information system. The platform he chose and its parent company suffered serious declines in hardware sales and is now owned by the owner of Lanai. Again to be fair, the information technology landscape is littered with failure by people of much higher visibility and Lassner's lack of meritorious achievement in IT does not necessarily predict failure as the new president. The concern at the time was an apparent lack of openness to other alternatives and cross platform integration. Hopefully he has become more flexible and time has served to forge him into what we need at UH.

    Let's all wish him and the University of Hawaii a long term of success.

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