2014: 50th Year of UH Community College System
Fifty years ago, on April 23, 1964, then Governor John Burns signed the Hawai‘i Legislature’s Act 39 authorizing the UH regents to create community colleges (CCs). Robert Fearrien and Ruth Lucas, in The Community Colleges, Malamalama, A History of the University of Hawai‘i, by Kamins and Potter, report, as stated in Act 39, “The purposes of community colleges shall be to provide two year college transfer and general education programs, semi-professional, technical, vocational, and continuing education programs, and such other educational programs services as are appropriate to such institutions.” Fearrien and Lucas say the CC system was unique because they were called “community colleges” not “junior colleges,” the latter term being used on the mainland; and they were included in the UH system rather than being placed under a county Board of Education. The authors also remark that the curriculum of the CCs served Hawai‘i’s community interests from the very beginning.
Kapi‘olani Technical School had been the merge of two programs—Practical Nursing, begun in 1947 at the old Pensacola sight, and a hotel and restaurant program started in 1946 at the Ala Wai Clubhouse. In 1968, with the introduction of liberal arts studies, as well as moving the food services program to Pensacola, KCC became a “comprehensive community college.”
Fifty years later we at KCC benefit from the wisdom of the 1964 Legislature and the early proponents of community colleges, such as Professors Teruo Ihara and Richard Kosaki and then UH President Thomas Hamilton, as we continue to respond to the needs of Hawai‘i, and through agreements with our four year sister institutions, provide seamless transfer pathways for our students.