Louise Pagotto began serving as Chancellor of Kapiʻolani Community College on June 8, 2018. Her work at the college began in August 1989 and has seen a number of incarnations: classroom teacher of English composition and linguistics, assistant dean for vocational and distance education, department chair of language arts, and assistant dean again, this time for arts and sciences and the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Technology. She served as vice chancellor for academic affairs for 16 years.
She came to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as an international student in 1980. Her doctorate in linguistics was awarded in December 1987, with a dissertation on the verb morphology of Marshallese, a Micronesian language spoken in the Marshall Islands. She went on to teach English to non-native speakers at Leeward Community College.
Pagotto attended Marianopolis College and graduated with a bachelor of arts in English conferred by l’Université de Montréal (Canada) in May 1971. In the same year she began teaching high school in Papua New Guinea. She returned to Canada in 1976 to complete her master’s degree in linguistics at McGill University, focusing her research on the syntax of Ojibwa, an aboriginal language in Western Québec.