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Bachman conference roomA Hawaiian blessing ceremony, traditional Chinese lion dance and officer elections. That was the July 3, 2024 agenda for the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents (BOR) first meeting in the BOR’s new home in the recently renovated Bachman Hall, a 2,500-square-foot conference room that can accommodate up to 160 people.

Regents in a meeting

The regents unanimously elected Gabriel Lee as the BOR chair for the 2024–25 term that runs from July 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025. Lee had been serving as interim BOR chair since March.

“It is a privilege to serve the board and the 10-campus system as the board chair, and it is a responsibility I take very seriously,” said Lee after the election. “This board is going to have to lead UH through a critical time, the transition to a new president with the retirement of President (David) Lassner after a decade of service in that role. Then we are going to have to work diligently with that individual and all of our stakeholders to guide the university through the second half of this decade.”

Regent Laurie Tochiki and Regent Laurel Loo were unanimously elected vice chairs. The next regents meeting is Thursday, July 18, 2024. The new committee chairs will be announced by August 1.

Blessing ceremony and lion dance

Kahu KekoaKahu Kordell Kekoa led the Hawaiian blessing ceremony attended by most of the regents, BOR staff and Lassner. Kekoa asked Lassner and Regent Wayne Higaki to hold a three-strand maile lei as he delivered a message of unity, service and caring for one another whenever they are in their new meeting space.

“When they are going to have dissenting thoughts and conversations, this is the place to have it,” said Kekoa. “We all need a place to have disagreements. We can sit and talk about how we make the university better.”

Kekoa then sprinkled rainwater on everyone’s hands and asked them to touch the maile lei and then the walls and desks of the new meeting room. Following the blessing, a lion dance by a troupe from the Saam Fu Chinese Cultural Arts was held to chase away bad spirits and bring blessings to the new conference room.

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