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The University of Hawaiʻi: Not Just An Ordinary University

Updated on April 10, 2014
Hawaiian Scribe profile image

Stephanie Launiu is a Native Hawaiian lifestyle and cultural writer. She has a degree in Hawaiian Pacific Studies. She lives on O'ahu.

UH Manoa is the flagship campus located on Oʻahu.
UH Manoa is the flagship campus located on Oʻahu.

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Not every university is created equal. There are those that are labeled "Ivy League", along with other labels like: small, large, urban, rural, private, public, religious, for women or men only, and on and on. But nowhere else in America is there a university on a Pacific Island in the middle of the ocean. Except for the University of Hawaiʻi.

Founded in 1907 a mere decade after Hawaiʻi was annexed by the United States, it was originally a land grant college focusing on agriculture and the mechanical arts. In 1920, it became the University of Hawaiʻi along with the founding of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 1931 the College of Education was added.

Today, "UH" as it is fondly called by those in Hawaiʻi, is a sprawling statewide system of 10 campuses and educational centers on six Hawaiian islands. At last count, there were over 60,000 students with 90% being undergraduates and 10% studying for graduate degrees.

Realizing that every student is unique, the University of Hawaiʻi has academic programs ranging from certificate and vocational through doctoral programs.

And hereʻs more reasons why UH is not just your ordinary university...


UH West Oʻahu is the newest baccalaureate campus with the lowest tuition rates in the system. Classes are small and personal interaction between professor and students are the norm.
UH West Oʻahu is the newest baccalaureate campus with the lowest tuition rates in the system. Classes are small and personal interaction between professor and students are the norm. | Source

Itʻs Not Just One Campus

A couple of years ago, I decided to go back to school to work on my college degree. One of the things I really like about the University of Hawaiʻi is that, once youʻre enrolled, you have access to a whole network of campuses and resources located across the state.

I worked on my Liberal Arts requirements for my first two years at Leeward Community College,and have recently transferred to UH West Oʻahu. Even though Iʻm now a junior at UH West Oʻahu, I can still enroll in courses at other campuses within the UH system. Iʻm taking algebra and Hawaiian Language at Leeward, and next semester Iʻm going to take an online class at UH Maui College.

I recently went to borrow a book from the university library and it wasnʻt at my campus. No problem! With my handy student I.D. card, I can request a book from any of the UH libraries within the state. Three days later I got an email notifying me that the book was on hold for me at my campus. Howʻs that for convenience?

And to make things even better, the entire UH system libraries are online. I can research a paper using academic journals, newspapers, books and periodicals...completely online.

The University of Hawaiʻi is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is governed by the Hawaii State Legislature and a semi-autonomous board of regents who hires a president to be administrator of the system.

Here are the different campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi system:








UH Hilo is in a residential community a few minutes from beautiful Hilo Bay.
UH Hilo is in a residential community a few minutes from beautiful Hilo Bay. | Source
You can learn aeronautics maintenance at Honolulu Community College
You can learn aeronautics maintenance at Honolulu Community College | Source
You can get an Associates degree in Hawaiian Studies at Hawaiʻi Community College
You can get an Associates degree in Hawaiian Studies at Hawaiʻi Community College | Source
Kapiʻolani Community College offers formal culinary training.
Kapiʻolani Community College offers formal culinary training. | Source
Nursing students work on their skills at Kauaʻi Community College.
Nursing students work on their skills at Kauaʻi Community College. | Source
Leeward Community College students can get a tuition waiver and monthly stipend while working at Maʻo Farms, a certified organic farm in Waiʻanae. They get Associates of Arts degrees and certificates in Community Food Security.
Leeward Community College students can get a tuition waiver and monthly stipend while working at Maʻo Farms, a certified organic farm in Waiʻanae. They get Associates of Arts degrees and certificates in Community Food Security. | Source
Source
Windward Community College's Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology combines traditional classroom instruction with an intensive hands-on laboratory.
Windward Community College's Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology combines traditional classroom instruction with an intensive hands-on laboratory. | Source

Research University

Manoa: Located in Manoa Valley a few minutes from Waikiki, this is the largest and oldest campus within the UH system. This campus offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees; a strong, innovative research program; and nationally ranked NCAA Division I athletics.

Baccalaureate Universities

Hilo: Tucked into a residential neighborhood in Hilo on the eastern Big Island of Hawaiʻi, this campus offers baccalaureate and masterʻs degree programs. Taking full advantage of the natural living laboratory that is part of Big Island life, some of its degree programs study its active volcanoes, deep ocean waters and astronomical wonders from the telescopes atop Mauna Kea.

West Oʻahu: The newest UH campus still expanding in the growing town of Kapolei on Oʻahuʻs leeward side, UHWO has the lowest university tuition rates within the system. This four-year commuter institution has small classes and personalized attention, but is only 20 minutes from downtown Honolulu.

UH Community Colleges

Hawaiʻi: In the little seaside town of Hilo on the Big Islandʻs eastern side, this campus administers the UH Center at West Hawaiʻi in Kona. It offers more than 30 associate degree, certificate and non-credit extension programs ranging from health and hospitality to business and trades.

Honolulu: Just a few minutes from downtown Honolulu, this campus has additional facilities for automotive and heavy equipment, and aeronautic and marine programs. Also offered is a strong liberal arts curriculum along with expansive choices in vocational and technological programs.

Kapiʻolani: Nestled on the slopes of Diamond Head, this is UHʻs largest community college campus and home to the Culinary Institute of the Pacific. This campus promotes an international focus and has programs in business, arts and sciences, health, hospitality and the only paralegal certificate program in the state.

Kauaʻi: This campus in the main town of Lihuʻe has really become a gathering place and resource center for both residents and visitors to the island. It offers courses in liberal arts, business, early childhood education, health, hospitality and technology.

Leeward: Overlooking Pearl Harbor on Oʻahu, this campus has comprehensive course choices ranging from liberal arts to professional studies. It also administers an educational center serving the Waiʻanae Coast that has predominantly Native Hawaiian residents.

Maui: This is a tri-island campus that serves Maui, Lanaʻi and Molokaʻi. It also administers an education center in the remote Maui community of Hana. It also has a pioneering cable TV network that reaches students in rural areas.

Windward: This campus lies at the base of the beautiful Koʻolau mountains on Oʻahu. Specializing in creative arts, environmental sciences and Hawaiian studies, it is home to the Employment Training Center and Hawaiʻiʻs Music Institute.






University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (Big Island)

University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (Oʻahu)

University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu (Oʻahu)

University of Hawaiʻi has 10 campuses spanning the State of Hawaiʻi

A
UH Manoa:
2500 Campus Road, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA

get directions

B
UH Hilo:
200 West Kawili Street, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

get directions

C
UH West Oʻahu:
91-1001 Farrington Highway, Kapolei, HI 96707, USA

get directions

D
Hawaiʻi Community College:
200 West Kawili Street, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, HI 96720, USA

get directions

E
Honolulu Community College:
874 Dillingham Boulevard, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA

get directions

F
Kapiʻolani Community College:
4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA

get directions

G
Kauaʻi Community College:
3-1901 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, HI 96766, USA

get directions

H
Leeward Community College:
96-045 Ala Ike, Pearl City, HI 96782, USA

get directions

I
Maui Community College:
310 West Kaahumanu Avenue, Kahului, HI 96732, USA

get directions

J
Windward Community College:
45-720 Keaahala Road, Windward Community College, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA

get directions

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    • Hawaiian Scribe profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Launiu 

      4 years ago from Hawai'i

      Iʻve added a few videos of the three major university campuses if youʻd like to take a look. The Univ of Hawaiʻi does attract a lot of people from other countries as well as other U.S. states. Thanks for reading the hub. Aloha, Stephanie

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 years ago from The Netherlands

      Compared with the University of Hawai the one I went to seems rather dull. And we didn't have the nice weather. I can understand why people would want to study there ;-)

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