The College of Pharmacy has documented the history of creating the first college to train pharmacists in the Pacific region in a hardcover book published this summer called Emergence of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy.

CoP Librarian Amy Knehans and Maggie Morris, editor of the CoP magazine Kawili Laʻau, scoured the archives for every milestone and event that led to the creation of the college. Besides chronicling the newsworthy details of the first five years, the book gives first-hand accounts from people who supported building a pharmacy school in Hilo from the beginning, such as Senator Daniel K. Inouye, former Chancellor Rose Tseng, Director of University Relations Gerald De Mello, and Hawaiʻi State Representative Jerry Chang.

Jerry Johnson, former dean of the UH Hilo College of Arts and Sciences, was in the trenches along with former CoP Director of Community Partnerships Ron Taniguchi, and they were able to fill in the blanks on creating something from nothing for most of the events prior to admitting students in 2007.

“In Hawaiʻi, the informal steps can mean more than the formal steps to get things done,” Johnson said as he outlined the myriad procedures. “We had to convince [UH administration] there was a local need, there’s a national need, and that UH Hilo can do it.”

The book also contains nearly 100 photos as well as a timeline and an appendix that includes student composite photos of the first four classes, a map of student residency, testimony presented before the house, minutes of the regents’ committee, graduate survey, organizational charts, economic impact report, CoP’s strategic plan and an honor roll of donors.

“It has been an honor to be involved in creating such a work,” Knehans said. “I really enjoyed listening first-hand to the personal perspectives from key supporters of the college. I learned a great deal about the history of the island as well as the UH System. The college has come a long way in a short time.”

Emergence is available online on their website. Hard copies may be obtained by contacting the editors at or

This article was reprinted from the October 2012 edition of Ka Lono Hanakahi, the UH Hilo faculty and staff newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *