Gathering Places


Thursday, May 17, 2001

State and UH
are partners in
higher education,
not adversaries

While the controversy between the faculty of the University of Hawaii and the state government during the recent strike seemed to highlight an adversarial relationship, in reality the university and the state are partners in providing higher education to Hawaii's citizens.

University of Hawaii

It is important to realize, as university President Kenneth Mortimer frequently points out, that of the nearly $800 million annual UH budget, about $300 million is provided by the state. The balance of about $500 million annually is provided from tuition, grants and donations. Further, for every $1 that the state appropriates, the UH generates another $1.87 of education-related expenditures in the economy.

In addition, the UH ranks 54th in the nation in federal research expenditures out of the top 135 research universities and pulled in $181 million in extramural grants during FY 2000.

The belief that the quality of public education translates into the quality of life of our community has underpinned the successful four-year campaign to raise $100 million for the University -- the largest amount ever raised in Hawaii for a charitable purpose. One-quarter of these funds will be spent on students in the form of undergraduate scholarships and graduate research fellowships. Another $7 million will underwrite departmental chairs, lectureships, teaching fellowships, and guest lecture series. This campaign will better provide educational opportunities for more than 46,000 students on 10 campuses on six islands.

These financial resources support centers of excellence throughout the university:

>> The College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature includes a Department of Second Language Studies that the university claims is rated the best of its kind in the nation and has the largest enrollment in Japanese languages in the country.

>> Graduates of the William S. Richardson School of Law represent 26 percent of the approximately 4,000 practicing attorneys, judges and government lawyers licensed in Hawaii. Tuition, grants and support from the community provide 80 percent of the law school's annual budget.

>> The Institute for Astronomy has a new five year $18 million agreement with NASA to operate the Infrared Telescope Facility.

>> The John A. Burns School of Medicine this year received more than $6 million from outside sources. The Pacific Biomedical Research Center has received $12 million for 15 principal investigators.

>> The College of Business Administration, cited by Business Week magazine for having the best executive programs on Asia-Pacific business, has a new Center for Entrepreneurship and E-Business.

>> The community colleges provide seven degree-granting campuses as well as the Employment Training Center, which is a training center for short-term, noncredit instruction. Recently, two generous donors gave $1 million to provide for faculty development and another donor provided $1 million for international studies.

>> The University of Hawaii at Hilo has disclosed negotiations with a private investment group from Taiwan to build an $80 million complex to expand its international and scientific programs.

This has already been achieved in a partnership between the state and the university, with the help of private support and research grants, to provide our young people (as well as not-so-young adults) with a quality higher education.

At a recent ceremony to congratulate scholarship recipients for their achievements and to thank donors for their support, a first-year undergraduate not only thanked her benefactor but promised that she would reciprocate by providing scholarships when she was financially able to do so.

It is interesting to note that among the scholarship donors are retired UH faculty members who also belong to the Heritage Society, members of which have provided for the university in their wills.

Excellence at the university is possible only through continuing vital state support combined with support from a concerned community. That adds up to a productive public-private partnership.

Frank Boas is a trustee of the
University of Hawaii Foundation.

University of Hawaii

UH Foundation

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