Honoring our Past, Celebrating our Present, Creating our Future

Moving History

1907 Territorial Gov. George Carter signs legislation establishing the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts as a U.S. Land Grant institution.
1908 John Gilmore, the 1st president arrives. Five freshmen, 5 preparatory students and 13 faculty members begin regular classes in temporary quarters near Thomas Square.
1909 The 1st football team, with 2 faculty players, beats McKinley High School. A territorial championship over club and military teams comes 10 years later.
1912 The 1st degrees are conferred: 2 in science, 1 each in agriculture and engineering.
1912 The campus, renamed College of Hawai'i, moves to O'ahu's Mānoa Valley. Pig farms and kiawe groves give way to the 1st permanent building, Hawai'i Hall.
1918 William Kwai Fong Yap, a bank cashier and father of 11, petitions for university status. The Legislature acts 2 years later..
1919 The 15-year-old Waikīkī Aquarium becomes part of the college.
1922 Ka Leo o Hawai‘i, the 1st student newspaper, is founded.
1924 The Dramatic Club presents The Faithful, an English adaptation of the kabuki play Chushingura.
1931 The Territorial Normal and Training School (now the College of Education) becomes part of the university, bringing with it the C. M. Dickey-designed Wist Hall.
1933 UH awards its 1st PhD to J. S. Phillips, whose dissertation addresses control of ants in pineapple fields.
1934 The campus landmark Varney Circle Fountain is completed; it becomes a site for college pranks and lovers’ pledges.
1935 Founding of the Oriental Institute, forerunner of the East-West Center, sets the agenda for UH’s ever growing prominence in Asia-Pacific studies.
1939 Hemenway Hall opens; the 1st student union building is financed by contributions from the university community.
1941 War intervenes. Classes are suspended for 2 months following the December Pearl Harbor attack.
1942 Students of Japanese ancestry form the Varsity Victory Volunteers to assist with civil defense; many later become part of the famous 442nd Regiment and the 100th Infantry Battalion. Gas masks become part of commencement exercises apparel.
1947 UH Press begins with 1 part-time employee. With a reputation for publishing related to the Asia Pacific region, it remains one of the nation’s top 20 presses.
1948 Enrollment doubles to 5,000, fueled by students studying under the GI bill.
1951 The University of Hawai‘i, Hilo Branch, is approved.
1951 Earle Ernst stages The House of Sugawara, introducing kabuki to the west and founding a world renowned Asian theater academic program.
1952 Frear Hall dormitory opens to house 144 women students.
1953 President Harry Truman receives an honorary degree at Andrews Outdoor Theatre. Lyon Arboretum becomes part of UH after 35 years.
1956 Gregg M. Sinclair Library opens, dedicated to the retired president who oversaw a doubling of the library collection.
1960 UH integrates technology with education when the UH Statistical & Computing Center (in the basement of Keller Hall) acquired a monolithic IBM 650 Data Processing Machine.
1964 The UH Community Colleges system is established with Honolulu, Kapi‘olani, Kaua‘i and Maui campuses.
1966 Mānoa establishes a School of Travel Industry Management, forerunner of the School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies and the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
1967 Construction begins on the 1st telescope atop Mauna Kea volcano.
1968 Students stage a sit-in at Mānoa’s Bachman Hall to protest the Vietnam War and university governance issues.
1969 Leeward Community College opens in Pearl City after a year of holding classes in an elementary school.
1970 The first transfer of an electronic packet of data via radio over ALOHAnet, became the model for network communications that underlies today's Internet and is still studied at universities throughout the world.
1971 Leeward CC opens the Wai‘anae-Nānākuli Education Center. 1972 Windward becomes the 6th community college, housed in the former state hospital in Kāne‘ohe.
1973 Mānoa’s School of Law opens in temporary buildings on lower campus. It moves to Dole Street buildings a decade later and assumes the name of newly retired influential Chief Justice William S. Richardson.
1974 The College of Agriculture is established at Hilo, later expanding the name to include Forestry and Natural Resource Management. 1976 West O‘ahu College opens in improvised classrooms, later occupying temporary facilities on the Leeward campus. 1976 Kaua’i CC moves to the Puhi site donated by Grove Farm.
1977 Gender Equity comes to UH. Rainbow athletics appoints its 1st full-time director for women’s sports, Donnis Thompson. Wahine basketball starts up the following year.
1977 The Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies opens at UH Manoa and officially receives its name in 2002 in honor of Hawaiian Educator Gladys Kamakakuokalani 'Ainoa Brandt.
1980 The School of Architecture is established at Mānoa, followed 8 years later by the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology.
1984 Kapi‘olani CC moves to the slopes of Diamond Head. Mānoa sets a collegiate standard in opening Rainbow Stadium; it is renamed for Les Murakami in 2002.
1985 Windward CC opens a Center for Aerospace Education.
1986 The University Library collection tops 2 million volumes.
1987 The law school inaugurates its Jurist-in-Residence program, which brings U.S. Supreme Court judges to campus every other year. 1989 West O‘ahu College becomes UH West O‘ahu. 1990 A year before its 50th anniversary, Hawai‘i separates from UH Hilo to become the 7th UH community college. 1990 UH delivered its first statewide distance learning course via interactive television, reaching Kauai using the longest over-water microwave connection in the world.
1991 UH scientists use submersibles to collect information on Lō‘ihi, Hawai‘i’s undersea volcano.
1994 Mānoa opens an award-winning, 10,000-seat Special Events Arena, later named for its most ardent advocate, Athletic Director Stan Sheriff. It is the first major addition to Mānoa athletic facilities since completion of the aquatic complex in 1986.
1995 A record-setting $9.6 million gift from the foundation of the late Ed Pauley funds purchase of Coconut Island and construction of a marine biology research laboratory.
1995 Delayed by damage from Hurricane ‘Iniki, the 560-seat Performing Arts Center opens at Kaua‘i.
1997 UH Hilo begins offering the nation’s 1st master’s degree in an indigenous language and establishes the Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikoōlani College of Hawaiian Language.
1997 Windward’s historic Hale Kuhina reopens; the 1st major campus renovation in 25 years is followed by a new Imaginarium and Center for Arts and Humanities with gallery and theatre.
1998 UH announces the 1st reproducible cloning of a mammal, the mouse Cumulina. The Honolulu technique later contributes to the 1st male clone and production of transgenic mice that glow green.
1999 Still in temporary quarters, UH West O‘ahu extends distance education programs to West Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
2000 Maui CC opens the Moloka‘i Education Center. Hawai‘i voters overwhelmingly support constitutional autonomy for UH, ensuring the institution more control in managing its resources.
2000 Mānoa adopts the “jagged H” as its new athletic mark. Leeward stages its 1st Taste of the Stars, and Kapi‘olani takes the lead in the system wide Culinary Institute of the Pacific.
2001 Classes and performances close due to a 13-day faculty strike. UH wins the contract—UH’s largest at potentially $181 million— to manage the Maui Supercomputing Center.
2001 Mānoa’s College of Business Administration launches an MBA program in Hanoi.
2002 The twin-hull Kilo Moana joins the UH research fleet, and a UH submersible discovers a Japanese minisub sunk in the Pearl Harbor attack. UH joins the Department of Education and Good Beginnings Alliance in the Hawai‘i P–20 Initiative.
2003 Maui becomes the 1st UH community college to offer a bachelor’s degree. Kapi‘olani students staff an on-campus travel agency. Honolulu partners with the Polynesian Voyaging Society to teach canoe preparation and maintenance.
2003 Mānoa dedicates the Legacy Path; Windward also offers recognition bricks.
2004 A flood inundates Hamilton Library and damages other buildings. Classes are cancelled for 2 days, 35 buildings go without power, and volunteers help salvage soaked materials.
2004 Hilo establishes a doctoral program in Hawaiian and indigenous language and culture revitalization and pursues plans for a School of Pharmacy.
2005 The Academy for Creative Media is established as a system wide program for film and new media. The medical school moves into new facilities in Kaka‘ako, and UH establishes a new center on bioterrorism and emerging infectious disease.
2005 The Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair recognizes a famous alumnus— the 1st Japanese American to serve in Congress. Honolulu CC installs a 9/11 Memorial, with a remnant of the World Trade Center, near its piece of the Berlin Wall.
2006 The ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center opens with exhibits on Hawaiian tradition and astronomical research. Construction continues on Maui’s 400-bed student housing project.
2006 UH West O‘ahu offers early childhood education and forensic anthropology.

To be continued....

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The University of Hawai‘i will celebrate 100 years of higher education in Hawai‘i during 2007 and 2008, with events to honor our past, celebrate our present and create our future. Since its founding, more than a million students have taken UH courses for credit, students who have, in turn, played a major role in the transformation of Hawai‘i into the successful multi-cultural community we enjoy today.

The University of Hawai‘i centennial mark instills a sense of pride in our first century celebration. Joining the U and H expresses unity, balance, and harmony—values held in the highest regard by our unique island communities. The depiction of the rainbow references the show of nature's beauty that gracefully arcs across Mānoa skies—a beacon of hope that lights the path to a bright and prosperous future. The rainbow also recalls UH symbolism of the past, so fondly and firmly embedded in our shared nostalgia.

Watch for events carrying the centennial mark and join UH alumni and friends statewide in celebrating UH’s legacy. And contact the UH campuses and outreach facilities at right to take part in the continuing transformation.

University of Hawai‘i System


University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Honolulu, (808) 956-8111

University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Hilo, (808) 974-7311

University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu Pearl City, (808) 454-4700

Hawai‘i Community College Hilo, (808) 974-7692

Honolulu Community College Honolulu, (808) 845-9211

Kapi‘olani Community College Honolulu, (808) 734-9000

Kaua‘i Community College Līhu‘e, (808) 245-8311

Leeward Community College Pearl City, (808) 455-0011

Maui Community College Kahului, (808) 984-3500

Windward Community College Kāne‘ohe, (808) 235-7400


University Center, Kaua‘i Līhu‘e, (808) 245-8330

University Center, Maui Kahului, (808) 984-3525

University Center, West Hawai‘i Kealakekua, (808) 322-4850


Hāna Education Center Hāna, (808) 248-7380

Lāna‘i Education Center Lāna‘i City, (808) 565-7266

Moloka‘i Education Center Kaunakakai, (808) 553-4490

Wai‘anae Education Center Wai‘anae, (808) 696-6378


University of Hawai‘i Foundation Honolulu, (808) 956-8849