Nearly two hundred guests joined two-time Pulitzer Prize Award winner, National Book Award recipient and U.S. Poet Laureate 2010-2011 W.S. Merwin at a private reception at Kennedy Theatre. The reception brought donors and friends together to celebrate the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals and its role in bringing world-class speakers like W.S. Merwin to the Mānoa campus.
During the reception, Merwin, a Maui resident, shared how Hawaiʻi's natural surroundings and its ever-increasing need for preservation have influenced his work. He stressed the importance of nurturing and perpetuating the connection Hawaiʻi's people have with the environment.
After the reception, guests joined the public in the auditorium for the presentation, "A Conversation with W.S. Merwin." At the beginning of the program, Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw bestowed upon Merwin an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the Board of Regents. After thanking the University, Merwin delivered his reflections on Thomas Jefferson's contributions toward creating our enduring democracy.
The Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair in Democratic Ideals at UH Mānoa engages scholars and public figures dedicated to sharing their knowledge and life experiences. With an emphasis on democratic processes and the importance of public life, the Chair enhances understanding of the unique context of Hawaiʻi, Asia and the Pacific within the traditional positions of power and influence in the U.S.
Photos by: Sebastian DeGiorgio | University of Hawaiʻi Foundation