Commencement Featured Keynote Speaker Esther Puakela Kia’aina, First Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The University of Guam recognized 236 graduates during Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremonies on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in the UOG Field House. Of the Fall 2013 / Summer 2013 graduates, 67 received graduate degrees and 169 received undergraduate degrees.
The Commencement Ceremonies featured keynote speaker Esther Puakela Kia’aina, First Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. Kia’aina served for nearly two decades on Capitol Hill, as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Representative and UOG President Dr. Robert A. Underwood and to U.S. Representative Ed Case (D-Hawai’i), and as Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawai’i). Kia’aina was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Kia’aina was born on Guam and grew up in the village of Mangilao. She attended San Vicente Elementary and Junior High School before graduating from the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. She received a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1985. She also attended the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
“Ms. Kia’aina is an islander who will inspire our graduates with her personal story and experiences that bring together respect for indigenous cultures, an understanding of federal policy making and the power of personal integrity,” said UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood.