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Punahou selects 1986 alumnus as next school president

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Mike Latham, a 1986 graduate of Punahou School, will become its 17th president in July 2019, the school announced today.

The Punahou School Board of Trustees has approved alumnus and current Grinnell College administrator Mike Latham as the school’s next president.

Latham, a 1986 Punahou graduate, will become just the fourth president of the school since World War II, and 17th overall, when he assumes the position in July 2019. He will succeed James Scott, who will retire after serving as president since 1994.

“Punahou was fortunate to attract a highly qualified candidate pool from around the world, and the Board of Trustees believes that Mike exemplifies the qualities of strategic leadership, intellectual innovation and community building that will shape the next era of Punahou’s history,” said search committee chair Mark Fukunaga, in a statement released this afternoon.

Latham is the vice president for academic affairs and dean at Grinnell, a liberal arts college in Iowa. He previously served as a history professor and later dean of Fordham University’s College at Rose Hill in New York.

An expert in U.S. history and foreign relations, Latham also taught at Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in China, and has authored two books. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Pomona College and a masters of arts and Ph.D in history from the University of California-Los Angeles.

“I am deeply honored and grateful to have the opportunity to come home to Punahou, a community that has had such a transformative impact on my own life,” Latham said in the release. “Punahou has long been a truly outstanding school, with wonderful teachers and talented students.”

Acknowledging Scott’s accomplishments over the last 24 years, Latham said he was “eager to build on that foundation, to promote inquiry-led teaching, strategic planning, global engagement and community-based education that deepens our commitment to social responsibility.”

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