MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - University of Hawaii West Oahu Chancellor Rockne Freitas on Tuesday announced his intent to retire at the end of this calendar year, following a nearly 23-year career in key leadership roles with the University of Hawaii.
"I am the happiest man in the world to have served the University of Hawaii, but I am retiring to begin a new journey, spend time with people that I love, go fishing and work out," Freitas said.
Freitas was a pioneer in Native Hawaiian advancement in both higher education and professional sports. He was the first Native Hawaiian chancellor at a four-year university when he took the reigns at UH West Oahu in May 2013. He was also the first Native Hawaiian to make all-Pro in the National Football League, a feat he accomplished three times.
"We're incredibly grateful to Rockne and fortunate that he chose to serve Hawaii's university for 23 years," UH President David Lassner said. "He tackled diverse leadership positions for us, first in the UH Manoa athletics department and then in his first stint as a UH vice president. After his return to UH he also served as chancellor at two different campuses on two islands and played key leadership roles in our higher education startups for the most underserved regions of the state. It has been a personal pleasure and honor to work with him in many positions over many years. He has inspired me and many others with his steadfast commitment to improving access and success in higher education, especially for Native Hawaiians."
President Lassner will be meeting with the UH West Oahu campus in the near future to gather input on the path forward.