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Residents of American Samoa will now be able to expand the number of degrees and certificates they earn without leaving their islands after the opening of the University of Hawaiʻi physical facility in December, further strengthening the long-established ties between the two groups.

Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga lobbied for years for UH to open physical facilities in the region. He helped to arrange an agreement for the new stand-alone UH-American Samoa Center in the village of Puapua. Mauga and UH President David Lassner were on hand for the opening along with officials from the government and UH.

UH has had alumni from American Samoa earn degrees and certificates through many of the programs of the UH campuses.

“I extend my sincere appreciation to the University of Hawaiʻi for their steadfast support in molding the educational terrain of American Samoa,” Mauga said.

“We are grateful to American Samoa for so graciously welcoming UH to their community,” Lassner said. “This next step in our partnership will enable UH to provide more opportunity for American Samoa residents to earn higher education credentials and meet their community needs while staying home and remaining close to family.”

“There is a strong kinship between UH and American Samoa. We are proud of our alumni here,” Pacific Masters in Education (PACMED) Director Deborah Zuercher said. PACMED has helped educators throughout the Pacific earn their advanced degrees since 2017.

The American Samoa Government and UH have collaborated on educational matters for almost 45 years. Since 1979, UH has partnered with the American Samoa Community College.

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