University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Ann Ito, director of the KOKUA Program, is the UH nominee for the Governor’s Award for Distinguished State Service. Ito was nominated by her fellow employees and students for the Employee of the Year award.
The KOKUA Program assists undergraduate, graduate and professional students with learning, physical, psychiatric and other documented disabilities by providing services that enhance their UH Mānoa experience.
During her 43 years at UH Mānoa, Ito has encouraged and inspired many students with disabilities to graduate, setting them up for a life of opportunities without limitations. Throughout her career, she has generated awareness, created programs and educated faculty, staff and students in regards to not only disability issues, laws and policies, but also in asking “what is the right thing to do.”
Ito is a humble leader who deeply cares for and respects the students that she serves. To ensure that the Mānoa experience is accessible to them from admission to graduation, Ito collaborates regularly with many of the departments, colleges and programs at the university.
Ito has also been an active, faithful volunteer both on- and off-campus, including the bi-annual commencement events and serving on numerous search committees and boards statewide such as the Library for the Blind Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of the Hawaiʻi Center for the Deaf and Blind. Ito is also a governor-appointed board member of the Disability and Communication Access Board.
Ito is also a recipient of the 2013 UH Mānoa Chancellor’s Award for outstanding service.
The 2013 Governor’s Awards Ceremony is scheduled for October 4, 2013 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the State Capitol Auditorium. It is a public ceremony but seating/standing room is very limited.
The Governor’s Awards are part of the state’s employee recognition and incentive program that is administered by the Department of Human Resources Development. The three awards offered—Employee of the Year, Manager of the Year and Team of the Year—are designed to honor the state’s executive branch employees and managers who exemplify the highest caliber of public service and dedication to serving the people of Hawaiʻi.