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Former UH president won’t return to tenured position

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2012M.R.C. Greenwood at a University of Hawaii regents meeting in 2012.
    CRAIG T. KOJIMA / 2012
    M.R.C. Greenwood at a University of Hawaii regents meeting in 2012.

Former University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood says she will retire at the end of the month and not return to a tenured faculty position as originally planned.

"I deeply appreciated the University and the Board of Regents’ grant of a one-year unpaid leave. However, after a period of rest and reflection, I have decided that I wish to pursue my writing and policy interests and that I prefer to remain on the mainland to do so," Greenwood said in a statement.

Greenwood had announced last summer that she was stepping down to spend more time with family and address health problems, leaving with nearly two years still on her contract.

But before departing, the regents approved a tenured faculty position for her to return to the John A. Burns School of Medicine, with a $24,470 monthly salary, or nearly $294,000 a year. 

At the time, Greenwood — an internationally recognized expert in nutrition, obesity and diabetes — had agreed to focus on establishing a diabetes and obesity center at the medical school.

Her departure came about a year after the university became embroiled in the so-called Wonder Blunder, a botched Stevie Wonder concert that tarnished public confidence in the university. A state Senate inquiry into the missteps of the bungled concert led to wider concerns over university governance, operations and accountability.

Still, she said in a statement that her years president "were full of rewarding projects and accomplishments" and that she "will always remember my fine colleagues and hold Hawaii in my heart. I wish only the best for the university."

Interim UH President David Lassner, who will assume the post full-time July 1, praised Greenwood’s time at UH.

"President Greenwood led us in developing the Hawaii Graduation Initiative to meet the needs of Hawaii for an educated citizenry and workforce, and the Hawaii Innovation Initiative to build a new economic sector for the state, both of which remain on the regents’ agenda for the next president," he said in a statement. "While M.R.C. will not be with us in the islands, I know she will be looking after Hawaii’s interests in her continuing work at the national level."

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