Polynesian voyaging navigator and educator Chad “Kalepa” Baybayan will deliver the keynote address during the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s fall commencement scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday in Vulcan Gym.
Students petitioned for degrees and/or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (255), Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (17), Business and Economics (33), Pharmacy (1), Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (9) and for various post-graduate credentials (14).
Born and raised in Lahaina, Maui, Baybayan currently serves as navigator-in-residence at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, developing wayfinding activities, curriculum and educational materials that engage people of all ages.
Baybayan has been an active participant in the Polynesian voyaging renaissance since 1975, as captain and navigator onboard the iconic Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging canoe Hokule‘a, as well as the companion canoes Hawai‘iloa and Hokualaka‘i.
Baybayan most recently took part in the three-year Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, which concluded in June after traveling 42,000 nautical miles, visiting 150 ports in more than 20 countries and training a new generation of navigators, educators, scientists and community stewards.
Baybayan earned a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian studies from UH-Hilo in 1997 and a master of education degree from Heritage College (Colo.) in 1999.
Anne Rivera, a communication major, represents the graduating class as student speaker. Rivera, whose goal is to become a communication professor, plans to attend Georgia State University to pursue a master’s degree in human communication.