Categorized | Education

Kimura named Executive Director of Imiloa Astronomy Center


University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney has announced the appointment of Kaʻiu Kimura as executive director of the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, effective August 1, 2010. Kimura had been serving as interim executive director since November 2009, and replaces Peter Giles who served as the center’s executive director since 2005.

Kimura joined ‘Imiloa as the Hawaiian content research specialist during its planning phase in 2001 and later served as the center’s experience coordinator. Prior to becoming interim executive director, she held the position of associate director with responsibility for all visitor experiences in addition to planetarium, educational, exhibit, cultural and cultural landscape programming.

“Kaʻiu has all the qualifications to be an outstanding executive director,” Straney said. “She has extensive experience and the educational background necessary to lead ‘Imiloa forward and build on the center’s impressive list of accomplishments.”

The Kamuela-born Kimura graduated from Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus. She returned to the Big Island to attend UH Hilo where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian studies and a master’s in Hawaiian language and literature.

“Heading a world class facility like ‘Imiloa is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Kimura said. “I’ve watched with awe and amazement as the center has inspired our youth and community-at-large to pursue the study of science and culture in a setting beyond anything I ever dreamed of while growing up.”

‘Imiloa, a $28 million, 40,000 square-foot exhibition and planetarium complex, was developed to showcase the connections between the rich traditions of Hawaiian culture and the cutting edge astronomical research taking place on the summit of Mauna Kea. Since opening its doors in 2006, ‘Imiloa has served as a focal point for the Hawaiian and scientific communities to present their common vision for the future to teachers, students, residents and visitors alike.

Kimura said she wants to see ‘Imiloa produce more creative educational programming that will engage and inspire Hawaiʻi’s youth to become the next generation of innovation leaders. Her plans also include the continued development of the center as a place for meaningful dialogue to promote scientific advancement and innovation and provide a global model for indigenous and scientific knowledge integration.

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