Solemsaas out as HCC chancellor


Hawaii Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas will be stepping down from her role following the spring 2023 semester, citing personal matters on Friday.

Solemsaas’ last day on campus is scheduled for June 30, and an interim chancellor is set to be named by May 12 to coincide with the Board of Regents meeting May 18.


“It truly has been an honor to serve Hawaii Community College as chancellor, but personal family-related matters have necessitated that I leave this institution that I love and have served for seven years,” Solemsaas said in a statement. “Hawaii CC has an amazing history in the Hawaii Island community, and I am incredibly proud of our ‘Kauhale’ — the faculty, staff, students and community members — for all that we have accomplished together.”

Solemsaas joined HCC as chancellor in 2016, and under her leadership, HCC adopted an islandwide approach, assuming administration of the Ko Education Center in Honoka‘a and establishing career and technical education early college programs at high schools.

Three-year graduation rates for both full-time (36.3%) and part-time (10.4%) first-time freshmen reached all-time highs as well.

When Solemsaas joined HCC, the campus had financial reserves of less than $1 million. As she exits, the college has more than $10 million in reserves.

HCC also increased grant funding, securing $12.5 million in extramural funding and private philanthropy, with the largest single private donation in the college’s history of $1 million occurring under her leadership.

“Chancellor Solemsaas has done a remarkable job in her seven years at Hawaii CC and was truly committed to the college and Hawaii Island community,” said UH President David Lassner in a release. “I commend her for expanding the college’s reach on Hawaii Island and its underserved communities and her work guiding the campus through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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