Chancellor's Message to the Community

June 4, 2020


Aloha mai kākou,

Together we have faced events none of us could have imagined. Our ‘ohana continues to adapt to our ever-changing circumstances. Our challenges, financial and otherwise, will continue to need our attention, thoughtful deliberation, and decision – making.

On Monday, President Lassner shared a powerful message in response to the tragic death of George Floyd, and the reaction from so many throughout our nation and the world. In his reflection, President Lassner calls upon us to “create a climate of aloha for all within the University of Hawai‘i.” Further, he asks us to “stand with him against racism and discrimination.”

In a communication from J. Noah Brown, President of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) he reminds us “who work tirelessly for good through our community colleges and what they represent must stand united with those afflicted against the base instincts of others among us that seek to divide, denigrate, and subjugate on the basis of race ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, gender identity sexual orientation and other differences.”

Here in Kaua‘i, we are a strong and resilient community, and more than capable of meeting this call to action.

To that end, I share with you the poem “Invictus,” meaning “Unconquered” written by William Ernest Henley in 1875. It’s a powerful story about overcoming adversity. Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and President of South Africa recited this poem to himself every day for the 27 years in which he was imprisoned as a way to bolster his spirits and press onward:

Out of the night that covers me,
                          Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be,
                For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
                         I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
                       My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
                          Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
                      Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
                                            How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate,
                    I am the captain of my soul.

Together, with bolstered spirits let us press onward. 

It is a privilege to serve you as your Chancellor.