University Opens Location in Hawai'i to Serve Its Growing Ohana

Pacific has been Hawai'i residents' mainland university for more than 70 years



Founding Director Gary Pacarro '74

Pacific University (Ore.), a home away from home for thousands of Hawai'i-based students and alumni for more than 70 years, is opening an administrative office in Honolulu to better serve both its Ohana and prospective students. 

The office occupies a first-floor suite at 677 Ala Moana Blvd, and will open at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 with a special partnership signing event between Pacific president Lesley Hallick and University of Hawaii Community Colleges vice president John Morton. 

"We are delighted to take this next step in enhancing our longstanding presence in Hawai'i," Hallick said. "The new office addresses the needs of our growing Ohana throughout the state, from current students and their parents, to alumni and prospective students." 

Close to 70 educators and administrators from Hawai'i's K-12 and community colleges systems will be on hand Friday to celebrate a unique partnership between Pacific (Ore.) and the state's community colleges.

State representative Tom Brower (D-22), and senators Suzanne Chun Oakland (D-13), Will Espero (D-19) and Sam Slom (R-9) will also attend. 

On Saturday, Jan. 26, an open house at the office will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. for Pacific (Ore.) students, alumni and friends of the university. Mindy Cameron, chair of the Pacific University Board of Trustees, will join Hallick at both events. 

Approximately 20 percent of students attending Pacific University hail from Hawai'i' and more than 1,300 alumni reside on the Islands. Only Oregon residents comprise more of Pacific's 1,700 undergraduate student enrollment than Hawai'i. 

Pacific alumni well-known throughout the Islands include Hawai'i Tourism Authority president Mike McCartney, optometrist Stanley Yamane and television news reporter turned realtor Lyle Galdeira. 

The university began actively recruiting students from Hawai'i in the late-1940s. Shortly after Hawai'i entered statehood in 1960, Pacific president Miller Ritchie bestowed an honorary degree on inaugural Gov. William F. Quinn. 

That same year a student club formed at Pacific, Na Haumana O Hawai‘i, and it has grown to more than 250 student members. The club annually produces one of the largest and most elaborate lu'aus on the mainland. 

Hundreds of parents and other family members related to Pacific students volunteer and travel to Oregon each April for the annual extravaganza, now entering its 53rd year. 

Pacific University's presence in Hawai'i has been well received for generations. Recently deceased Sen. Daniel Inouye (D), a longtime supporter of the university's recruitment in Hawai'i, received an honorary degree from Pacific in 1975. 

Additionally, the university's nationally recognized College of Optometry hosts a continuing education conference for practitioners each January. The 30th anniversary of the Island Eyes Conference takes place at the Hyatt Regency on Maui Jan. 20-26 and advance registration has exceeded 400 for the first time. 

With the opening of the new office, Pacific is believed to be one of the first not-for-profit private colleges or universities on the mainland to establish a full-time operational presence in Hawai'i. 

Gary Pacarro, a 1974 alumnus of Pacific (Ore.) and fixture throughout state's civic and education circles, has been named the founding director of the office. 

As founding director, Pacarro will be a university ambassador to Pacific students, their families, prospective students and their parents, alumni, donors and friends in Hawai‘i. 

Pacific has developed a unique transfer articulation agreement that will establish a seamless degree pathway for Hawai'i's community college students to earn their bachelor's degree at the university. 

"In the past, Pacific University has primarily recruited high school students from Hawai'i," Pacific vice president for enrollment management Mark Ankeny said. "This agreement will enable students from Hawai'i's seven community colleges to make a smooth transition if they desire a mainland educational experience." 

Hallick and Morton will enter into a transfer articulation agreement on behalf of their respective entities during the Friday event, which will include a traditional Hawai'i blessing. The agreement will become effective Feb. 1, 2013. 

Pacarro, a former member of Pacific's Board of Trustees, recently served as Hawai'i's coordinator of the Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit organization that provides training workshops to coaches, parents and administrators of schools and youth sports programs. 

Prior to that, he was a financial advisor affiliated with Morgan Stanley, as well as a teacher at his alma mater, Punahou School. He currently serves as the head basketball coach of the division II squad at Punahou, and previously coached the girl's varsity squad for 16 seasons (1991-2007). 

Pacarro's coaching experience also includes other levels at Punahou, Farrington High School and the Chris Mullin Basketball Camp. 

Pacarro is well known throughout Hawai'i for his service on organization boards as well.  In addition to Pacific's Board of Trustees, Pacarro has been a board member for the City and County of Honolulu's Parks & Recreation division, the Hawai'i Executive Association, Mid Pacific Country Club and the Punahou Alumni Association. 

"Gary’s unique background in coaching, teaching and financial management, as well as his longstanding relationship with Pacific, make him uniquely qualified to represent the university in his home state," Ankeny said. 

Ankeny added that Pacarro's proven leadership will help the university further develop relationships and articulation agreements with Hawai‘i high schools and community colleges, and support student recruitment, alumni and donor relations activities in Hawai‘i.


Posted by Joe Lang (jlang@pacificu.edu) on Jan 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM

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