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Hirokawa is New CAS Dean at UH Hilo

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Posted: Jan 4, 2005

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo announces the appointment of Dr. Randy Y. Hirokawa as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He assumed the post January 1, 2005. Hirokawa comes to UH Hilo from the University of Iowa where he had served as a professor and chair in the communication studies department. Hirokawa replaces Interim CAS Dean Dr. Stephen Hora.

"We are proud to welcome Dr. Hirokawa to UH Hilo," said Chancellor Rose Tseng. "He is one of the leading experts in the field of group communication and group decision-making dynamics and an excellent communicator, two qualities that will make him a perfect fit for the challenges in this period of unprecedented growth for both CAS and UH Hilo."

Hirokawa is a native of Hanapepe, Kauaʻi and earned his bachelor‘s degree in speech communication from UH Manoa and both his master‘s and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He has been married to the former Ann Furuya of Hilo for the past 27 years. They have two daughters -- Karla, a doctoral student in genetics at UC-Irvine, and Kristy, a doctoral student in anthropology at UC-Davis -- and a son Tyler, a fifth grader.

"I've wanted to return to Hawaiʻi for a long time," Hirokawa said. "You‘ve heard the saying ʻyou can take the boy from the islands, but you can't take the islands from the boy.‘ That's really true of me. I knew in my heart of hearts that I had to find a way back to Hawaiʻi someday. So when I was offered the position here at UH Hilo, it was literally and figuratively a dream come true for me."

Hirokawa says that he has two immediate priorities as CAS Dean.

"This past summer when I was visiting Hilo, I read Rockne Freitas‘ interview in the Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald," he explained. "The reporter asked Mr. Freitas what his priorities were as Chancellor of HawCC, and he said he had a 30-day plan to talk to as many people as possible to learn as much as he could about what was good about HawCC and what needed to be changed. I really liked that idea -- so much so that I'm stealing it for myself.

"Another thing I'm going to do right off the bat is to work on external fund raising for the College of Arts and Sciences. The reality is that at most state-supported universities, the general budget is inadequate to properly enrich the educational experience for faculty and students. You need external fund-raising to make up the difference."