Hawaii News Now was the first to speak one-on-one with incoming UH Manoa Chancellor, Tom Apple - as he started work on campus Monday. He told us about his vision for the school's future.
Apple assumes leadership at UH Manoa on Sunday, but he's already crafted his top priorities: student success rates, strengthening the foundation for Hawaiian culture, and building a research-based economy while doubling research areas within the next five years.
"Take the good ideas that we have, the intellectual property that we generate at the university, and turn it into wealth," says Apple. "And that could be by forming a small business or transferring the technology to a small business."
Apple hopes to create more public-private partnerships between the school and community and will launch a "listening tour". "I'll be doing a lot of one-on-one meetings with key leaders, but I do want to meet with all various constituencies. I'm big fan of town hall meetings."
He's also ready to sit down with state lawmakers - even those who believe the UH president and chancellor positions should be combined - which, some say, could save the school millions. He pledged to keep them apprised of how money is spent. "They have absolutely every right to ask how we spend those funds and to check and look over our shoulder and make sure we're using them as efficiently as possible," Apple says.
The chancellor-designate says the university does more than $300 million of research annually and competes with schools like UC Berkeley, USC, and Stanford for funding and faculty. He's interested in carrying that same competitive spirit over to UH sports. "When I look long-term and I look at who we should compete with on the athletic fields, it would be nice to align those with who we compete with for our job as a major research university."
The former chemistry professor has already got the aloha shirt down. When he gets some free time, he wants to learn to surf and paddle.