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Honolulu, HI 96822

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Honorary Degrees

The Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters is awarded by the Board of Regents to individuals distinguished by their national or international reputations or accomplishments in scholarship, public service, profession, industry or other areas.

UH Executive Policy on awarding of honorary degrees.

2015 Recipients

2014 Recipients

2013 Recipients

2012 Recipients

2011 Recipients

2010 Recipients

2009 Recipients

2006 Recipients

2005 Recipients

2004 Recipients

2003 Recipients

2002 Recipients

2001 Recipient


  • Kim Dae Jung, president of South Korea and Nobel Prize winner


  • Lech Walesa, human rights supporter, former Poland president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, 1999
  • Toshiko Takaezu, master potter, 1993
  • Thomas Yagi, 1993
  • Monsignor Charles Kekumano, priest, 1993
  • Richard Wong, state senator, Bishop Estate trustee, 1993
  • Robert Oshiro, co-founder, Hawai‘i Democratic Party and state legislator, 1993
  • Calvin Sia, Kapiolani Medical Center trustee, 1992
  • Betty Vitousek, Family Court judge, 1992
  • Danny Kaleikini, entertainer, 1991
  • Alfred Preis, founder, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, 1991
  • Masaru Pundy Yokouchi, chair, State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, 1991
  • Hubert Everly, dean emeritus, UH College of Education, 1991
  • Ralph Kosaki, superintendent of education, 1991
  • Shimeji Kanazawa, Kuakini Health System trustee, 1990
  • Saburo Okita, chair, Institute for Domestic and International Policy Studies, 1990
  • Lloyd R. Vasey, founder, Pacific Forum, 1990
  • William Fulbright, U.S. senator, 1990


  • Herbert C. Cornuelle, James Campbell Estate trustee, 1989
  • Hung Wai Ching, retired businessman, 1989
  • Dai Ho Chun, retired educator, 1989
  • Kan Jung Luke, chairman, Hawai‘i National Bank, 1989
  • Edward Nakamura, Supreme Court associate justice, 1988 (DH)
  • Ah Quon McElrath, social worker, 1988 (DH)
  • Soedjatmoko, United Nations University rector, 1988 (DH)
  • Yehan Numata, founder, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, 1988 (DH)
  • Kenneth F. Brown, architect, former legislator, 1987 (DH)
  • Beatrice Krauss, ethnobotanist, 1987 (DH)
  • Mau Piailug, navigator and explorer, 1987 (DH)
  • Claude DuTeil, founder and head, Institute for Human Services, 1987 (DH)
  • Bhumibol Adulyadej, king of Thailand, 1986 (DH)
  • Robert J. Pfeiffer, chairman and CEO, Alexander & Baldwin, 1986 (DH)
  • George R. Ariyoshi, governor of Hawai‘i, 1986 (DH)
  • D. Carleton Gajdusek, laboratory chief, National Institutes of Health, 1986 (DH)
  • George Fukunaga, chairman, Servco Pacific, 1985
  • Wallace Fujiyama, attorney, 1985
  • Baron Goto, 1985
  • Masaji Marumoto, justice, 1985
  • Allen Neuharth, chairman and CEO, Gannett Company, 1985
  • Mike Mansfield, ambassador, 1983 (DH)
  • Chinn Ho, businessman, 1983 (DH)
  • Soshitsu Sen, grand tea master, 1983 (DH)
  • Spark M. Matsunaga, U.S. senator, 1983 (LD)
  • John D. Bellinger, chairman, First Hawaiian Bank, 1982 (LLD)
  • Arthur Joseph Goldberg, justice, 1982 (LLD)
  • Richard K. Lyman Jr., Bishop Estate trustee, 1982 (LLD)
  • MasayukiTokioka, businessman, 1982 (LLD)
  • Emma Farden Sharpe, educator, 1981
  • Gladys Aiona Brandt. educator, 1981
  • Abraham K. Akaka, pastor, Kawaiahao Church, 1980 (HHD)


  • Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. senator, 1979 (LLD)
  • Yasunari Kawabata, Nobel Prize in Literature, 1970 (LittD)
  • Earl Warren, former chief justice, U.S. Supreme Court, 1970 (LLD)


  • Georg Von Bekesy, UH Hawaiian Telephone Co. Chair in Science and Nobel Prize winner, 1969 (LLD)
  • Hubert H. Humphrey, U.S. vice president, 1966 (LLD)
  • Ferdinand Marcos, Philippines president, 1966 (LLD)
  • John Anthony Burns, governor of Hawai‘i, 1964 (LLD)
  • Taizo Ishikawa, Japanese businessman, 1964 (LLD)
  • Clark Kerr, University of California president, 1964 (LLD)
  • Diosdado Macapagal, president of The Philippines, 1964 (LLD)
  • Joseph Francis C. Rock, botanist, 1962 (DSc)
  • David Timmins Fullaway, entomologist, 1962 (DSc)
  • Robert Leavitt Cushing, PRI, 1962 (DSc)
  • Leonard David Baver, Hawaii Sugar Planters Association, 1962 (DSc)
  • Herbert A. R. Austin, 1962 (DSc)
  • Arturo Frondizi, president of Argentina, 1962 (LLD)
  • Philip E.Spalding, UH regent (chair), 1961 (LLD)
  • Charles H. Edmondson, UH professor emeritus, 1961 (DSc)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson, U.S. vice president, 1961 (LLD)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, former U.S. president, 1960 (LLD)
  • James H. Shoemaker, Bank of Hawai‘i, 1960 (LLD)
  • Mary K. Pukui, Bishop Museum, 1960 (DLitt)
  • Max Levine, UH research associate, 1960 (DSc)
Harry Truman receiving degree

President Harry Truman receiving degree, 1953


  • Daisetz T. Suzuki, Japan author, 1959 (LLD)
  • Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, vice president of India, 1959 (LHD)
  • Hu Shih, ambassador to U.S., 1959 (HHD)
  • Alexander Spoehr, Bishop Museum, 1959 (DSc)
  • Arthur E. Orvis, retired industrialist, 1959 (HHD)
  • Albert J. Mangelsdorf, Hawaii Sugar Planters Association, 1959 (LHD)
  • Robert P. Griffing Jr., director, Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1959 (DFA)
  • Raymond Coll, Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, 1959 (LittD)
  • Mayling S. Chiang, Chinese intellectual, 1959 (LLD)
  • Riley H. Allen, editor, Honolulu Star Bulletin, 1959 (LittD)
  • Fred A. Seaton, U.S. secretary of interior, 1959 (LLD)
  • Felix B. Stump, CINPAC administrator, 1958 (LLD)
  • David L. Crawford, UH president emeritus, 1957 (LLD)
  • Carlos P. Garcia, Philippines president, 1957 (LHD)
  • Ezra T. Benson, U.S. secretary of agriculture, 1956 (LLD)
  • Ralph S. Kuykendall, UH historian, 1956 (LHD)
  • Gregg M. Sinclair, UH president emeritus, 1956 (HHD)
  • Walter F. Dillingham, president, O.R. & L., 1955 (LLD)
  • Carlos P. Romulo, ambassador to U.S., 1955 (LHD)
  • Harry David Gideonse, president, Brooklyn University, 1955 (HHD)
  • Mme. Vijaya Lakshmi, Indian intellectual, 1954 (HHD)
  • Charles F. Chillingworth, legislator, 1954 (LLD)
  • George Barati, conductor, Symphony Orchestra, 1954 (DMus)
  • Arthur H. Sulzberger, editor, New York Times, 1954 (HHD)
  • Samuel W. King, governor of Hawai‘i, 1953 (LLD)
  • Louis M. ÄHacker, dean, Columbia, 1953 (LLD)
  • Hiram L. Fong, legislator, 1953 (LLD)
  • Adna G. Clarke, ROTC, alumni secretary, 1953 (LLD)
  • Harry S. Truman, U.S. president, 1953 (HHD)
  • Milburn L.Wilson, director, U.S. Extension, 1953 (HHD)
  • Frederick Ohrt, Department of Water Supply, 1952 (DSc)
  • Oren E. Long, Superintendent, DPI, 1952 (LLD)
  • Colin G. Lennox, Department of Agriculture, 1952 (DSc)
  • Rufus C. Harris, president, Tulane University, 1952 (DCL)
  • Elbert D. Thomas, high commissioner, Trust Territory, 1951 (LLD)
  • Cyril E. Pemberton, Hawai‘i Sugar Planters Association, 1951 (DSc)
  • Leslie A. Hicks, president, Hawaiian Electric Co., 1951
  • Daniel L. Marsh, president, Boston University, 1951 (HHD)
  • Oliver C. Carmichael, university president, 1950 (LHD)


  • Mary D. Frear, UH regent, 1943 (DLitt)
  • Arthur R. Keller, UH administrator, 1942 (DSc)


  • George G. Wilson, Harvard professor, 1937 (LLD)
  • Walter F. Frear, governor of Hawai‘i, 1937 (LLD)
  • Alexander Meiklejohn, president, Amherst, 1937 (LLD)
  • Helen S. Carter, patron, 1937 (MA)
  • C. Montague Cooke, Bishop Museum, 1936 (DSc)
  • Edwin R. Embree, Rosenwald Foundation, 1936 (DLitt)
  • Col. Allen W. Guillon, U.S. Army, 1934 (LLD)
  • Margaret Bergen, UH professor, 1934 (MA)
  • Nell Findley, department head, 1933 (MA)
  • Stanley D. Porteus, Psychology Clinic director, 1933 (DSc)
  • Edward M. Ehrhorn, Board of Water Supply, 1932 (MS)
  • Tatsuki Harada, president, Doshisa University, 1932 (LLD)
  • Anna C. Cooke, art patron, 1931 (MA)
  • Ethel M. Damon, author, 1931 (MA)
  • Thomas G. Thrum, author and editor, 1931 (MA)


  • Frederick E. Muir, Hawai‘i Sugar Planters Association, 1924 (DSc)
  • G. Howard Hitchcock, painter, 1924 (MA)
  • Gerrit Wilder, UH professor, 1924 (MS)
  • Frederick Krauss, UH professor, 1921 (DSc)
  • Sanford B. Dole, governor of Hawai‘i, 1919 (LLD)
  • Marion M. Scott, DPI, 1919

Honorary Degree Conferee

U Than Oo, headshot

U Than Oo

Conferred May 16, 2015

U Than Oo is recognized for his remarkable career as an education leader in Myanmar, his significant contributions to the Mass Literacy Movement, and the instrumental role he played in bringing about overall educational gains to the people of his country.

For much of his professional life, Oo worked under challenging circumstances made more difficult as his country was virtually cut off from the outside world for nearly 50 years.

After receiving his BA in education from Yangon University, Oo worked as a headmaster at a local school. Shortly thereafter, he successfully applied for a scholarship from the newly established East-West Center and in 1962 arrived in Honolulu to attend UH. He went on to receive his master’s in education from UH Manoa in 1963. Over the course of his professional career and despite a highly political environment, Oo made substantial contributions and saw educational gains by applying the professional training that he had received at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s College of Education.

Upon obtaining his degree and returning to Myanmar, he began his remarkable career. He was immediately appointed assistant administration officer of schools in the Directorate of Education, and four months later was appointed principal of the Pathein Teacher Training School.

In 1965 he was named assistant education research officer at the newly established Burma Education Research Bureau under the Ministry of Education. While at the Research Bureau, Oo focused on the field of language and the literacy movement in Myanmar. His work had a profound effect on how language was taught in Myanmar. Despite challenges, the 1964 to 1988 Mass Literacy Movement achieved a 78.6 percent literacy rate throughout the country.