Commencement season highlighted by UH graduations on Maui and Molokaʻi

Posted on Jul 1, 2024 in Main


Commencement season highlighted by UH graduations on Maui and MolokaʻiCommencement season wrapped up in May 2024, with dozens of high school and college graduation ceremonies across Hawaiʻi, including two very special University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Maui College graduations.

On May 9, UH Maui hosted its first commencement since the 2023 wildfires, with about 220 students participating. The theme of the ceremony was “resilience.”

“We wanted to celebrate the fact that our students have endured so much, not just only through the pandemic, but also through the wildfires, and they came out okay,” said UH Maui Chancellor Lui Hokoana. We wanted to celebrate their resilient spirit.”

UH Maui College students, staff, and community volunteers produced about 200,000 meals after the wildfires as the college served as a food hub for fire relief efforts.


In May, UH hosted a graduation ceremony on Molokaʻi to honor 42 graduates for the first time since 2016. Usually observed every four years, the ceremony was not held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The graduates attended classes at the UH Maui Molokaʻi Education Center and online to earn their degrees.

After a 23-year journey, 41-year-old Harriet Uʻilani Mokiao proudly earned her associate degree in liberal arts and delivered one of the student addresses.

“We really need to live in the present having learned from the past,” Mokiao said during her address. “There’s an ʻōlelo noʻeau (Hawaiian proverb) that reads ma ka hana ka ʻike, ma ka ʻike ka mana. Through work, through doing, comes knowledge and through knowledge comes power.”

Between 2021 and 2024, the UH Molokaʻi Education Center awarded 47 associate degrees and 52 certificates. More than 50% of the graduates are Native Hawaiian.

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