Rockne Freitas
Rockne Freitas

Former UH President Albert Simone remembers Rockne Freitas

Rockne is truly one of a kind. Someone like him comes around once in a generation. He accomplished and represented so much to so many across virtually every dimension of the world in which we live. He was a legend, hero, role model and idol in his home of Hawaiʻi. He was humble and had empathy for others. He could be trusted, and worked with excellence on an individual and group basis. He was a sports phenom (All-American in college, All-Pro in the NFL and MVP for the Detroit Lions). He was an icon in education, serving at every rung of the academic ladder up to the very top as chancellor and president at the university and secondary school levels. He led numerous community and charitable organizations, and succeeded in business enterprise.

I learned and benefited from knowing and working with him. I remember well the day, while he was serving as associate athletic director at UH, that he came to me and said he wanted to throw his hat in the ring for the position of UH vice president for university relations. As the selection process proceeded, I recalled him at the State Capitol, often several times a week at 11 p.m. and later, meeting with key legislative leaders, assisting them in their work and me in our work together at UH. I concluded then, and this conclusion was reinforced multiple times, that he would add remarkable benefit to the UH mission and that my own work would be so much improved with him at my side.

When I left UH for the mainland, I continued to watch, smile and admire what he was accomplishing and contributing throughout the UH System and the community at large. Thank you, Rockne, for all you have meant to so many in so many ways over the many exciting years of your life.

—Former UH President Albert Simone