KAHULUI >> A man who grew up on Maui has been tapped as the new chancellor at the University of Hawaii-Maui College.
The Maui News reports the University of Hawaii Board of Regents named Lui Hokoana on Thursday.
Hokoana will take over Dec. 1, a day after longtime Chancellor Clyde Sakamoto retires. Sakamoto has served in a variety of positions during his 41-year career with the university, university officials said.
Hokoana, who will make just over $152,000 a year, is currently vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu.
“We’re ecstatic. Now we get to welcome him back to our ohana,” said David Tamanaha, vice chancellor for administrative services for the University of Hawaii-Maui College.
Tamanaha called Hokoana a “very compassionate person” who cares for everyone, including faculty, staff, students and groundskeepers.
Hokoana wasn’t immediately available for comment after the meeting. As soon as regents confirmed his hiring, Hokoana shook hands with each regent and then rushed to his mother’s house to tell her the news before catching a flight back to Oahu.
Hokoana joined the university system in 1991 as a counselor at what was then known as Maui Community College.
Maui Regent Gene Bal said there was no bias because of Hokoana’s previous ties to Maui, and instead called that a strength in this new position.
“I think Lui has a great opportunity to affect students not only at (UH) Maui College but in the entire system. He’s a great role model, and he can inspire students not only to enroll but to succeed,” said Helen Nielsen, a new university regent representing Maui.
There were 47 candidates for the position, and he was one of five finalists.