The University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents honored Regent David Iha in a resolution at the May 25 meeting. Iha was recognized for his nearly 50-year legacy at the University of Hawaiʻi.
WHEREAS, Regent David Yoshimitsu Iha, a Kauaʻi native, born and raised in Koloa, Kauaʻi, with eight other siblings, a football star and graduate from Kauaʻi High School, left his plantation home to earn a BA from Wheaton College, Illinois;
WHEREAS, Regent Iha returned home, joined the University of Hawaiʻi as a legislative intern, funded by Ford Foundation Grant through the Department of Political Science, and spent a year working fulltime in the Department of Budget and Finance, House Finance Committee, and the Office of the State Auditor, beginning (unbeknownst to him) a near 50-year legacy at the University of Hawaiʻi;
WHEREAS, Regent Iha joined the University of Hawaiʻi at the System Budget Office as a Budget Analyst, and later, as Acting Budget Director. He served as Budget and Accounting Officer for the Community College System before returning to his native Kauaʻi, as the Director of Administrative Services, and later, Provost at Kauaʻi Community College. He was part of the leadership team that designed and built the new campus at Puhi, on 200 acres of land donated by the Grove Farm Company and the Wilcox Family, one of the largest corporate gifts to the university.
WHEREAS, under his visionary leadership of over 27 years, Regent Iha transformed Kauaʻi Community College from its early days as Kauaʻi Technical School to become a thriving college, providing opportunity for a better life for those most in need, as well as help launch future leaders, with innovative programs, securing federally-funded programs to assist the unemployed and underserved, and helping his community raise $140,000 for students to compete alongside top engineering students across the United States in a solar car race—and they placed 7th in the nation;
WHEREAS, Regent Iha’s indomitable spirit withstood two Hurricanes when he was provost; leading the rebuilding of the college twice, after the destruction caused by Hurricane ʻIwa in 1982, and Hurricane ʻIniki in 1992; and during his nearly 50 years of service he took only one professional improvement leave to obtain his Master’s degree at the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa;
WHEREAS, Regent Iha’s service has earned him multiple awards, including 1986 Governor’s Award for Employee of the Year; 1988 UH Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award; 1991 Wheaton College Crusader Club Hall of Honor; 1993 University of Hawaiʻi Manager of the Year; 2003 University of the Ryukus (Okinawa) Honorary Doctor of Philosophy; and 2007 Willard Wilson Distinguished Service Award.
WHEREAS, throughout his tenure, Regent Iha also served his community beyond the university, at home on the Conference Council of the United Church of Christ, Līhuʻe Christian Church, Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative Board, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Public Schools of Hawaiʻi Foundation, Kauaʻi Visitors Bureau, and as a founding director of the Kauaʻi Economic Development Board. He represented Hawaiʻi on the national front, serving on the American Council on Education, The American Association of Community Colleges, and the Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges.
WHEREAS, Regent Iha was appointed as the board secretary to the Board of Regents in 1998, leading the planning, coordinating, and directing the administrative support for the Board of Regents, and after eight years retired with over 40 years of service at the university. Upon his retirement in 2006, his service to the board and the university was described as “vital to the board during some challenging times,” and “calm, stable, and farsighted leadership in support of student access to higher education for the benefit of Hawaiʻi’s communities.”
WHEREAS, in 2015, Regent Iha graciously answered the call, again, when Governor David Ige appointed him to the Board of Regents for the University of Hawaiʻi System to represent his garden island of Kauaʻi. During his less than two year tenure on the Board, Regent Iha served on nearly every committee, and was Vice Chair of the Personnel Committee, and providing invaluable, comprehensive institutional knowledge and insight;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaiʻi extends its appreciation, again, this time to Regent David Iha for his dedicated service, guidance, and valuable, multitude of contributions to the University of Hawaiʻi and the State of Hawaiʻi, for the betterment of the students, his community, the university, and the state of Hawaiʻi; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Regents thank David’s family for supporting him in serving the university, his community, and the state of Hawaiʻi, and we wish him our warmest Aloha.