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John Morton (left) accepts the award from HRA Executive Director Gregg Fraser.

University of Hawaiʻi Vice President for Community Colleges John Morton was officially inducted into the 10th Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association (HRA) Hall of Fame, which recognizes the incredible industry professionals and leaders who’ve significantly contributed to the growth, education and promotion of the food service industry in Hawaiʻi. The ceremony took place September 19 at the Pōmaikaʻi Ballrooms in Iwilei, Oʻahu. Morton was recognized for his stewardship of the growth and development of culinary education in Hawaiʻi, ensuring an ample pool of talented, knowledgeable and skilled employees for Hawaiʻi’s food service industry.

In his acceptance speech at the event, Morton reflected on one of the things he has learned through his many years of involvement with the culinary programs and industries in Hawaiʻi, and that is—how very generous the industry is. He thanked the Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association for its support of the culinary programs, and also acknowledged the Hawaiʻi Wine and Food Festival that provides great opportunities for community college students to work side-by-side with chefs from around the world. He also thanked Hawaiʻi Restaurant Week for its generosity in providing scholarship funds for students.

Morton’s introduction to the culinary world started in the late 1970s at Leeward Community College with the development of a new culinary program. Then later as Provost at Kapiʻolani Community College in the 1980s, where he oversaw the building of the new campus with a goal of making culinary a showcase program at the institution. In the last few years, his leadership role expanded to all seven community colleges, which placed him in a position to oversee all 700 culinary students enrolled at the campuses.

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