President John Sai Keong Kauwe III and Sister Monica Kauwe,
On behalf of the faculty of Brigham Young University–Hawaii, the Faculty of Arts & Letters, the Faculty of Business & Government, the Faculty of Culture, Language & Performing Arts, the Faculty of Education & Social Work, the Faculty of Math & Computing, the Faculty of Religious Education, and the Faculty of Sciences, I extend a warm welcome and aloha to you both.
We are eagerly looking forward to working together to accomplish the mission and vision of this university, a unique academic institution that is rooted in the culture of Hawaiʻi, the ideals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and nurtured by the ʻāina of the ahupuaʻa of Lāʻiewai, Lāʻiemaloʻo, and the moku of Koʻolauloa.
President Kauwe, we know that Lāʻie is a kulāiwi, homeland, for you, where the bones of your ancestor, Kaleohano, are buried. We are in awe of your scholarly work in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease genetics and over 100 peer-reviewed publications.
This is a momentous time for our university to be led by an internationally recognized researcher and a descendant of Lāʻie in the continued fulfilment of the prophetic vision of David O. McKay. With that history, I express the facultyʼs commitment to working collaboratively across campus, and with students from our home region of Asia and Pacific, as well as the Indigenous and local communities in Hawaiʻi, to achieve a high caliber of academic excellence through your vision of sustainability for our university.
“He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa.” A canoe is an island, an island is a canoe. This ʻōlelo noʻeau emphasizes that Hawaiian ancestral and ecological knowledge must inform us so that we can think holistically and live harmoniously with all aspects of our environment, both natural and cultural. As we embark on this new voyage, we aspire to be better scholar-teachers, critical thinkers, good stewards of our resources, and to value our interdependence with all of our relations.
As members of the university waʻa, we adhere to “tākanga ʻetau fohé”, a Tongan proverb that reminds us that in the open sea we must strive to be equal in strength and ability, and to row in unison for our oceangoing vessel to stay in course and arrive safely at our destination.
President Kauwe, we, as faculty, will seek for unity, diversity, inclusion, and equity to navigate our university to a new academic harbor under your wise leadership as the first Native Hawaiian president and the eleventh president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii.