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Takamine to keynote UH-Hilo fall commencement

Dwight Takamine, director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Hawaii at Hilo Fall Commencement at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the UH-Hilo New Gym.

Undergraduate students have petitioned for a total of 244 degrees and/or certificates from the College of Arts and Sciences (151), College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (16), College of Business and Economics (35) Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (19) and the College of Pharmacy (3). Applications for 20 post-graduate degrees and other honors have also been submitted.

Takamine was born and raised in the plantation community of Honokaa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1978.

His political career began in 1984 when he was elected to the State House of Representatives in the Big Island’s first district. He served in that position until 2008 when he was elected to the State Senate. His legislative assignments included chairing the House Finance Committee along with the committees on Labor and Public Employment, Water and Land and the Senate Labor Committee.

Takamine left the Senate in 2010 when he was appointed to his current position by newly elected Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Tifeni Kanoe Elvenia, a Hawaiian language and communication major, will be the student speaker. Elvenia graduated from Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama in 2009 and has maintained a 3.8 GPA at UH-Hilo. Her academic honors include the Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani College of Hawaiian Language Dean’s List, Chancellor’s Scholarship and Fun Factory Scholarship.

Active in campus affairs, Elvenia presently serves as UH-Hilo Student Association vice president and former senator for Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani College of Hawaiian Language, a student assistant at Hale Kuamo`o, and the Hawaiian language editor for Hohonu. She also serves as a Neighbor Island executive delegate for the University of Hawaii Student Caucus, and is a representative of the UH-Hilo Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Council.

Elvenia’s numerous community activities are rooted in her Hawaiian culture. She is a key dancer in halau hula ‘o Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka La, serves as a student volunteer at the Kamehameha Schools Heritage Center, and has been a member of the UH-Hilo, Kamehameha and North Shore Canoe Clubs. She plans to attend graduate school in the fall.

For more information on commencement, call the UH-Hilo Conference Center at 974-7555 or email For disability accommodations, contact Susan Shirachi at 933-0816 (V) or 933-3334 (TTY).


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