Two of the University of Hawaiʻi’s higher profile alumni have been in the headlines recently. Both visited Hawaiʻi during spring 2009.
Richard Parsons (’64–’68 Mānoa) met with students and faculty and presented a public lecture on the global financial crisis to an overflow crowd at Kennedy Theatre during an April visit to Honolulu as the holder of the Dan and Maggie Inouye Chair in Democratic Ideals.
The Inouye chair, held jointly in UH Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law and the Department of American Studies, engages scholars and public figures dedicated to sharing their knowledge and experiences. With emphasis on democratic processes and the importance of public life, the chair enhances understanding of the unique context of Hawaiʻi, Asia and the Pacific within the traditional positions of power and influence in the U.S.
During their stay, Parsons and his wife Laura also met some of the students who have received the Laura Parsons Endowed Scholarship at UH Mānoa. He credited UH and his experience in Hawaiʻi with giving him the opportunity to meet his life partner and the confidence to pursue his dreams. There was no greater calling than to help students with their education, he said.
Tammy Duckworth (BA ’89 Mānoa) has taken on new role as assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
A major in the Illinois Army National Guard, Duckworth lost both legs and the partial use of one arm when the Army helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004. She was appointed director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs in 2006, followed by an unsuccessful bid for Congress later that year.
She attended the 59th Memorial Day ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu on May 25.