Engaging The Community

By Leon Richards
Chancellor of Kapiolani Community College

The role of the community college is clear in the coming years. It is the first point of access to the higher education system in the United States with open admissions and service to underserved regions and populations. It is a community-based institution of higher education that is responsive to the increasingly demanding workforce and educational needs of the community.


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Chancellor Leon Richards samples energy drinks created by students in Nelda Quensell's BOT 105 (ethnobotany) class | S.S. Lanzilotti photo

Kapiolani Community College takes seriously the responsibility to prepare students for careers and lifelong learning. Queen Kapiolani’s motto — kulia i ka nuu, strive for the highest — is instilled in each student at this cutting-edge institution that challenges its students to engage, learn and achieve.

With nearly 7,000 students each semester, Kapiolani CC has the largest higher education student population in Hawaii, except for University of Hawaii at Manoa, at one-third of the cost, and boasts a student to faculty ratio of 18 to 1. To prepare students to work and collaborate in a global society, Kapiolani CC draws a diverse student body from 45 countries and territories, with students from almost every continent.

Being the largest community college has its advantages. Kapiolani CC has robust outreach and student transition programs that assist applicants in entering Kapiolani CC and in transferring to four-year programs. Kapiolani CC also has 45 programs, offering 22 associate degrees and 23 certificates. Our offerings are broad and of the highest quality.

Kapiolani CC also offers opportunities for service learning in our communities, opportunities for career exploration, a baccalaureate bridge (pathways program) with strong transfer support, and even provides lifelong learning opportunities for continuous personal, social and workforce improvement through our Continuing Education program.

Kapiolani CC prepares educated and skilled workers for local, national and international jobs. National surveys state that higher education improves students’ earning potential by approximately 33 percent more than high school graduates. Kapiolani CC provides students with the opportunity to reach higher career and educational goals while being active community members.