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 Kapi‘olani 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.
Julia Na-pela-kapu-o-Kakaʻe Kapi‘olani was born on December 31, 1834 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Her father was high chief Kūhiō, and her mother Kinoiki was the daughter of King Kaumualiʻi of Kauaʻi who negotiated peace with Kamehameha the Great to unify the islands in 1810. Her first marriage was to Bennett Namakeha – a man thirty-five years her senior – making her an aunt of Queen Emma. She became the governess to Prince Albert, the son of Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, who died when he was only four years old. Kapiʻolani married David Kalākaua in 1863, the Kingdom of Hawai‘i’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 Kalākaua 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 England to help Queen Victoria celebrate her Golden Jubilee, Kapiʻolani made headlines by visiting President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland in Washington D.C.
Queen Kapiʻolani reigned for nearly seventeen years and was much beloved by the Hawaiian people. The king named Kapiʻolani Park in Waikiki in honor of his queen. She visited Kalauapapa in 1884 to learn how she could assist those who were diagnosed with leprosy and exiled there, and she raised the funds to build the Kapiʻolani Home for Girls whose parents had leprosy. Though childless, the Queen cherished the Hawaiian family and the role of mother. In 1890, she donated a home she inherited from her sister to establish the Kapiʻolani Maternity Home, which is today the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children. To honor her our institution has adopted the Queen’s motto, “Kūlia I Ka Nuʻu” – “Strive for the Highest”.
In 1891, King Kalākaua passed away at the age of fifty-four. Since the royal family bore no children, the king’s sister Lili‘uokalani succeeded the throne. Queen Kapiʻolani was sixty-four years old when she died in 1899, just one year after the annexation of Hawai‘i by the United States.