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David Lassner, center, participates in an alumni panel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign honored David Lassner, president of the University of Hawaiʻi System and interim chancellor of UH Mānoa, with its 2018 Computer Science Distinguished Educator Alumni Award on October 20.

Lassner, who began his career at UH Mānoa in 1977, was commended at the awards presentation for his focus on “helping residents earn college credentials and developing an innovation sector to strengthen Hawaiʻi‘s economy.”

Among his achievements is serving as principal investigator for $400 million in federal awards at UH. He also led the federally-funded project that interconnected all public schools, libraries and campuses on Hawaiʻi‘s six islands with fiber optics, and is principal investigator for the Maui High Performance Computing Center and Pacific Disaster Center.

The University of Illinois department of computer science annually honors alumni and faculty members who have made professional, technical, educational or service contributions of distinction.

“It is a delight to be back here for the first time, after probably close to 40 years, and to see what has happened with computer science and engineering is just amazing,” said Lassner on accepting the award. “What this department and college are doing for Illinois and the country is just remarkable in every way. To receive this award, I am very proud.”

Lassner holds an AB summa cum laude in economics, and an MS in computer science from his alma mater. He earned his PhD in communication and information sciences from UH Mānoa and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

In February, he received the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California Christine Haska Distinguished Service Award for his extensive work in research and education technology.

Lassner visits alumni in Windy City

While in Chicago, Lassner spent an evening with about 40 UH alumni. The UH graduates learned about the university’s latest initiatives and successes from the president, who took the opportunity to share his commitment to building up regional alumni groups. In addition to meeting him, the alumni in attendance had a chance to renew old friendships and make new UH connections.

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