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UH president announces retirement effective September


University of Hawaii System President M.R.C. Greenwood will retire from the presidency of Hawaii’s public land grant institution in September of this year, she announced Monday.

UH President M.R.C. Greenwood

“This university has accomplished an amazing amount in a rather short and extremely challenging time,” Greenwood said. “As the economy shows signs of improvement, I am proud of how well we’ve coped with the greatest recession in modern memory and serious state spending restrictions. Through the support and hard work of our faculty, staff and friends we’ve been able to accommodate the largest student enrollment in history, streamlined course availability and transfers, incurred no lost days of instruction, and maintained a very robust research portfolio.”

Greenwood’s reasons for making the decision are personal, health-related and family oriented.

In responding to her retirement announcement, Board of Regents Chair Eric Martinson said, “MRC Greenwood’s accomplishments have been outstanding. The university’s reputation has advanced nationally and internationally, the strategic goals set by the Board of Regents have advanced, and she helped navigate the university through one of our nation’s and state’s most severe recessions. She’s been instrumental in putting the university on the path to increased cooperation with the business community and has helped build recognition of the importance of the university for the economic engine it represents for Hawaii.”

Martinson cited Greenwood’s stewardship of major system wide projects including the UH Hilo Hawaiian Language building, the UH Cancer Center, Windward Community College’s learning center, UH West Oahu campus, the UH Maui College campus center, and the new information technology building under construction at UH Manoa.

He also noted substantial progress under her leadership of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island, the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope on Maui, and the West Hawaii Palamanui campus of Hawaii Community College, set to break ground in late May.

“She will leave behind an extraordinarily solid legacy and we look forward to her continuing service as a faculty member to the University of Hawaii,” Martinson said.

Plans for replacing Greenwood will be under discussion by the Board of Regents in the coming months.

In a message to the entire UH ohana and friends, Greenwood thanked the faculty, staff, administration and students for a full and fruitful 4 years as president.

“I have never known a better or more willing group of individuals. I am proud of what we accomplished under very difficult circumstances,” she said. “I am looking forward to my retirement to once again be ‘grandma’ and to write, teach and do some policy work.”

Greenwood is an internationally known researcher and scientist, a policy leader in higher education, the incoming president of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU) and a former associate director and consultant to the White House Office of Science and Technology under President William J. Clinton.

Greenwood plans to take an unpaid leave upon her retirement and will return to her tenured faculty position after that. She was hired in 2009 after a national search and took office in August of that year.

Governor’s statement on Greenwood’s resignation

Gov. Neil Abercrombie issued the following statement Monday afternoon regarding the announcement by M.R.C. Greenwood that she will resign her position as president of the University of Hawaii this September.

Abercrombie stated:

“From the moment I met President Greenwood, I was impressed with her commitment and her desire to give her very best effort on behalf of the University of Hawaii. She brought a wealth of experience and determination to put that to work for the university. I personally wish her every good fortune in the years to come. As for the university and the presidency, I will be contacting the Board of Regents and the wider university community as we chart our next steps.”

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