He released the following statement regarding his retirement:
“After 30 years in academia and since returning to Hawaiʻi, my goal was always to get the new UHWO campus built and opened and to offer four-year baccalaureate degrees. All of this is consistent with the vision that state leaders had for UHWO nearly four decades ago when they first envisioned a regional campus for this part of Oʻahu. As you all know, on August 20th of this year, that goal was achieved and I feel the timing is now right to move on to the next phase of my life.
“The 36-year journey for UHWO has never been an easy one even before the construction of the Kapolei campus began. But what I have probably admired most about the UHWO community is the willingness of faculty and staff to persevere, to think outside of the box to serve our students and to focus not on the criticism from others but on the charge we are tasked with: providing a quality higher education to residents of leeward and north shore Oʻahu.
“It has been a tremendous honor to work with such a dedicated and committed group of individuals and to meet so many fascinating students whose goals and aspirations assure that the future of Hawaiʻi is in good hands. I know that when I step down next year, this campus and its students will be in good hands.”
UH President M.R.C. Greenwood released the following statement in response to Awakuni’s announcement:
“The Board of Regents and I charged Chancellor Awakuni with getting UH West Oʻahu built and open by this fall and he did. This is one of the most important projects for higher education in the entire state of Hawaiʻi and we are very proud that this campus opened to excited and enthusiastic students. We thank him, we will continue to work with him over this period and we will begin the search for a new chancellor in the near future. Once again, I have appreciated working with Chancellor Awakuni over the last few years and wish him the best.”