JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
University of Hawaii President David McClain discussed his goals for the UH system with the Rotary Club of Honolulu yesterday at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. CLICK FOR LARGE
McClain seeks to build pride in UH and state
University of Hawaii President David McClain has three main goals for the next century of public higher education in the state: advancing academic excellence, strengthening undergraduate education and fulfilling the research mission of the university.
McClain spoke about the future of the 10-campus UH system at the Rotary Club of Honolulu yesterday as the university prepares to kick off a celebration of its 100th birthday with an open house at UH-Manoa on Saturday.
The university was founded in 1907 as the College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, with its first five students attending class in 1908.
Since that time, more than 1 million students have gone through the university system, McClain said. There are about 200,000 living alumni -- 140,000 who live in Hawaii, he said.
One in every 12 Hawaii adults attended a UH credit or noncredit class last year.
Looking ahead, McClain pushed for the building of the UH-West Oahu campus as well as new facilities to serve the west side of the Big Island, and improvements on other neighbor island campuses.
"Given the population growth on the Leeward side of Oahu, the time has come to build out UH-West Oahu," McClain said.
CELEBRATING A CENTENNIAL
Where: University of Hawaii at Manoa
When: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
What: Open house for all ages at various campus locations with entertainment, educational activities, food and beverages.
Cost: Free, including free parking on campus.
More information: Visit www.hawaii.edu/centennial or call 956-5526
"New and well-maintained learning facilities inspire student achievement, improve faculty retention and build pride among our community of alumni," he said.
For the first time in the state's history, people in Hawaii who are 40 years old have more education than 25-year-olds, McClain said.
"When we were all growing up, we had more education than our parents," he said. "But that's not true today. ... We have to increase our enrollment rates, our retention and transfer rates and our graduation rates."
McClain also stressed the need to retain and attract leading scholars who will then attract top students.
He noted that last year, UH faculty generated $430 million in research and training funds, more than double the total six years ago.
"We think our campuses can continue to be a magnet for creators of leading-edge technology, developing new sectors for the economy and capitalizing on Hawaii's natural advantages," McClain said.
As part of the celebration of the university's 100th birthday, the UH Foundation is also in the midst of a Centennial Campaign to raise $250 million for the university by 2009. So far, the foundation has raised a little more than $155 million since the campaign began in 2002.
The kickoff of the public phase of the fundraising campaign will start later this year, a foundation spokesman said.