Statement from Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood on her appointment as president of the University of Hawaii

University of Hawaiʻi
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-9803
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Jun 10, 2009

I am honored to be selected as the next president of the University of Hawaiʻi. I know, and appreciate, how vitally important the university is to the state of Hawaiʻi.

I want to thank the regents of the University of Hawaiʻi for entrusting me with the presidency. I also want to thank the search committee for their work and the many individuals who took the time to meet with me as well as all of you who provided information and comments to the process. I am proud and very pleased to be joining such a fine institution, one that is and will continue to be, a vital resource to the State of Hawaiʻi, the Asia-Pacific region and the worldwide community.

I will commit my full attention to ensuring that the hard work already done by those before me, especially that of President McClain and his system team, the campus chancellors, and many others will be honored as important building blocks for the future. I believe that the University of Hawaiʻi deserves great recognition for its exceptional innovations, and the quality of its programs. I look forward to working with colleagues throughout the university system to further develop that voice. I also believe that working together as a well coordinated system positions the University of Hawaiʻi to contribute national leadership in the continuum of education from its earliest stages to its most advanced levels. This means that we must all be proud of and support each campus and at the same time bask in the reflection of the whole. We must commit to developing collaborative communications strategies working with multiple partners in Hawaiʻi, and elsewhere, to insure that we appreciate the perspective of those who would help us, but who are not yet familiar with what modern universities do as an engine for economic and cultural success.

These are trying times for the nation‘s economy and for the state of Hawaiʻi. In such times, the great challenge is to deal effectively with the immediate and pressing problems before us, while at the same time remembering that educating citizens and producing new knowledge is the "seed" of our society. To safeguard Hawaiʻi‘s future, adaptable and resilient strategies are critical. With an integrated and adaptable system of higher education Hawaii can overcome our current difficulties, create new knowledge, processes and components for our future innovation, businesses and jobs. Through education, research, and community involvement, the University of Hawaiʻi will continue to help assure Hawaiʻi‘s prosperity.

There is no greater public mission than ensuring access and success in higher education and we must steadfastly protect and work for the fulfillment of this mission, including furthering the university‘s unique responsibilities to the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and to Hawaiʻi‘s indigenous language and culture. We must communicate our missions in a meaningful and sensitive manner to constituents and join together in compassionate, resilient and accountable ways.

I know that I have much to learn about Hawaiʻi and its rich cultural and linguistic heritage. I believe that to succeed in the future one must appreciate the lessons and values of the past. Honoring the university‘s past while encouraging the present and the future to flower is a formidable and honorable calling. Where better than the University of Hawaiʻi to insure that these lessons are learned? I bring to you my pledge to work as hard as I can to lead the university and to earn the trust and confidence of the people of Hawaiʻi. You have my personal commitment to work with the Board of Regents with a singularity of purpose and to the success of our common endeavor.

Again, I am humbly grateful for this opportunity to serve the Board of Regents, the faculty, the staff, the alumni and friends, the state of Hawaiʻi and, most directly, the fine students, young people and budding professionals who come to the University of Hawaiʻi to learn and grow.

Thank you.