By Bev Creamer
Advertiser Education Writer
On the heels of good news from the Legislature for the University of Hawai'i, President Evan Dobelle had some news of his own.
The Legislature this week gave a thumbs-up to Dobelle with strong support for his budget requests and for growth throughout the statewide system.
For his part, Dobelle said yesterday that he has been in conversations with Mainland foundations and is already negotiating $30 million of outside financing for the Cancer Research Center of Hawai'i and $15 million for the medical school, all part of the university's push to find another $150 million for Phase 2 of the Health and Wellness Center planned for Kaka'ako.
"Those are conversations that take time," he said, adding that "fund-raising is going well."
But he also pointed out that the university has been missing out on asking its own graduates for money. With 140,000 alumni, only about 9 percent contribute to the university after graduation. In a recent survey, 58 percent said they had never been asked to give, while 50 percent said they would give if asked.
"We haven't done the job," he said. "We have a lot of opportunities out there."
In a press conference yesterday, Dobelle praised the Legislature for its "spirit of partnership" with UH and for its authorization of more than $400 million in total UH construction spending (which includes the university's own revolving funds and federal money,) including more than $70 million for long-awaited repairs, maintenance and renovations on every campus, along with substantial money to improve safety and accessibility.
"This is a major step in rebuilding the infrastructure of the university," he said. "From the perspective of higher education, this Legislature will be remembered as the one that built the Health and Wellness Center ... In 20 years, that will be seen as one of the monumental achievements of any Legislature in Hawai'i's history."
And he reiterated that even with the slightly less than 2 percent cut in appropriations that UH received, no classes will be affected, no one will be laid off and faculty will get their negotiated pay raises on time.
Meanwhile, back on the UH campus yesterday, the first draft of the Manoa strategic plan was unveiled, setting an agenda for academic growth; support for Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented groups; and a drive to make the campus self-sustaining, pedestrian-friendly and far more lively and beautiful.
With more than 1,000 students, faculty and community people in attendance at the celebration, the lines for burgers and hot dogs were long, but the music and dance were sweet.
Reach Beverly Creamer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8013.