By Jeff King
After more than four decades on the job, University of Hawai’i Maui College Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto announced today that he will retire at the end of October, 2014.
Sakamoto has served in the UH System for 41 years and has been the chief executive officer of the Maui campus since 1991. Sakamoto has overseen the growth of the former Maui Community College from a cluster of steamy bungalows to a state of the art university campus with career-developing curricula.
Sakamoto has also served as dean of instruction at the Maui campus and was executive director of Projects 2 & 4, which brought baccalaureate development to UH community colleges.
Sakamoto oversees a $10 million federal Rural Development Grant and has helped secure more than $13 million in rural development funds since 1997. He also helped secure a $3 million grant for the Native Hawaiian Scholarship Program, obtained and administered grants related to telecommunication infrastructure, gender equity, Hawaiian education and sustainable technologies.
Sakamoto has helped secure more than $147 million in extramural funds for UH Maui College since 1997.
When he assumed responsibility for leading UH Maui College in 1990, the Fall enrollment was 2,346. The student population in the Fall of 2013 was 4,076 — a 74% enrollment increase under Chancellor Sakamoto’s leadership. The number may not seem huge in time comparisons, but the careful orchestration of planned and achievable growth has made UH-MC a recognized institution of higher learning for many seeking a full four-year degree program. Sakamoto has never lost sight, however, of the need for Associate Degree and other two-year vocational programs that have launched countless careers on the Valley Isle, allowing local residents to grow and learn “at home,” then offer the fruits of their learned skills to benefit their community.
UH Interim President David Lassner said, “Clyde has been the singular face of higher education on Maui for decades. He has always been an innovator and visionary, with one example being his pioneering leadership in developing distance learning for the tri-isle Maui County that became a model for UH’s work throughout the State.
“Clyde’s legacy includes the beautiful UH Maui College campus, a robust suite of educational programs that support economic development, and a county-wide understanding of the importance of higher education to the community. After 41 years of working tirelessly for the people of Maui County, we wish Clyde and his wife Gerianne all the best for an amazing retirement together, said Lassner.
“I am continually and deeply grateful to have been given an opportunity to contribute to higher education in Maui County and Hawai’i. On behalf of our students and community, our college’s progress reflects a commitment from our campus staff and faculty, community and political leadership in Maui County,” Sakamoto said.
“I thank all of you who have contributed to improving higher learning in Maui County. Through your support and assistance, we built a firm foundation for continual and future leadership to prepare learners for the global and local opportunities presented by needs and problems. I am especially grateful for my faculty, staff and administrative colleagues who inspire learners by addressing unmet needs, persevering through complicated and transparent processes without complaint, and adding value to our students’ access to careers that will sustain themselves and their families.”
“I greatly appreciate the many years of leadership and contributions that Chancellor Sakamoto has provided to UH Maui College and the community college system,” said Vice President of Community Colleges John Morton. “Our task now is to begin the process of finding someone who can continue Chancellor Sakamoto’s legacy of service and dedication to the residents of Maui County as the next Chancellor.”