The Kapi‘olani Community College began in 1946 as the Kapi‘olani Technical School at a time when Hawai‘i was still a territory of the United States. The innovative school was administered by the Territorial Department of Instruction with a strong academic focus on food service. But in 1959, as Hawai‘i was entering statehood, three additional programs were added: practical nursing, business education and dental assisting. In 1965 the college realigned its academic mission and joined the University of Hawai‘i community college system. From its original home at the corner of Pensacola and Kapiolani Boulevard to its current location on the slopes of scenic Diamond Head, KCC is poised to take its place at the head of the technical renaissance of the 21st century!
In the name of a Queen.
In 1834 Esther Kapi‘olani was born in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Her mother, Princess Kekaulike Kinoiki was the eldest daughter of King Kaumualiʻi of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau. Her first marriage was to High Chief Benjamin Namakehaokalani – a man thirty five years her senior – making her an aunt of Queen Emma. After her husband’s death she became governess of Prince Albert Kamehameha but fell out of grace when she was blamed for the child’s sudden death. Kapʻolani remarried in 1863 to David Kalakaua, the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi’s first postmaster general.
According to the Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, if a king dies without a successor to the throne, the legislature must appoint a new king. Through this law, David Kalakaua was elected to replace the deceased King Lunalilo in 1874, making Kapiʻolani the Queen Consort of Hawaiʻi. Kapiʻolani was a visible monarch, often traveling throughout the kingdom. En route to Englandʻs Queen Victoriaʻs Jubilee, Kapiʻolani made headlines by visiting President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland in Washington.
Queen Kapiʻolani reigned for nearly seventeen years and was much beloved by the Hawaiian people. She was well-known as a poet and songwriter, frequently composing mele, Hawaiian songs. The king gifted a park in Waikiki in his wifeʻs honor – Kapiʻolani Park. Though childless, the Queen cherished the Hawaiian family and the role of mother. In 1890, Queen Kapiʻolani endowed the Kapiʻolani Maternity Hospital. The institutionʻs motto mirrored that of the Queen herself, “Kulia I Ka Nuʻu” – “Strive for the Highest”.
In 1891 King Kalakaua passed away at the age of fifty four. Since the royal family bore no children, the king’s sister Liliuokalani succeeded the throne. Queen Kapiʻolani died at sixty four in 1899, just one year after the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States.