UH Students Will Receive Hawaiian Language Diplomas When They Graduate

The move is hailed as a way for UH to be a leader in native Hawaiian education.
University of Hawaii at Manoa diplomas
Photo: Courtesy of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa 


Most University of Hawai‘i graduates will receive two diplomas this spring—one printed in English and one in Hawaiian.


The initiative is part of the university’s goal to better serve its native Hawaiian population and to recognize the state’s two official languages. (UH in Hawaiian is Ke Kulanui o Hawai‘i.)


UH says the majority of its 10 campuses will offer the Hawaiian diplomas this spring. By fall 2018, all campuses will hand out both diplomas.


University of Hawaii Manoa Graduation Diploma
University of Hawaii Manoa diploma hawaiian
University of Hawai‘i diploma in english (top) and in Hawaiian (bottom).
photo: Courtesy of University of Hawai‘i


The university has offered Hawaiian language diplomas as an option in the past for an additional fee, but this spring marks the first time that most campuses will offer it with no extra cost. Alumni who want a diploma printed in Hawaiian can order one through the Office of the Registrar for an additional cost.


The idea to print all graduates’ diplomas in Hawaiian came from Maui College Chancellor Lui Hokoana. It also aligns with the goals of the UH Office of Hawai‘i Papa O Ke Ao, a committee formed with members of each campus to develop, implement and analyze ways the university can be a leader in native Hawaiian education. The office hailed the move to print two diplomas as a way to move UH “closer to its goal of fostering and promoting the use of Hawaiian language at parity with English.”


UH Mānoa’s commencement ceremonies are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, depending on each school, with individual college and department ceremonies this week.


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