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February 15, 2017
  • Dr. Edward Kormondy and Richard West
Photo Caption L-R: Dr. Edward Kormondy and Richard West, the founding chair of the Chancellor's Development Committee, the first fundraising committee to specifically support the UH Hilo Chancellor's efforts.

Education Pioneer Rewards Good People For What They Do

Human ecology, or the study of the complex relationships between humans and their surroundings, aims to understand how people function within their environments. After spending several years in the field of higher education, author, former chancellor and educator Edward J. Kormondy is not only knowledgeable on the fundamentals of human ecology, but also has a good deal of first-hand experience.

Kormondy, a regular donor to UH since 1987 shared, “One of the joys of higher education is working with people,” said Kormondy, who first began his work at the University of Hawai‘i in 1986. Kormondy was selected to serve as chancellor of UH Hilo and West O‘ahu College (now known as UH West O‘ahu), bringing with him years of experience working in higher education.

During his tenure, Kormondy grew enrollment, increased funding, encouraged greater faculty participation and inspired a deeper sense of community integration and support.

“I look back with great joy on the challenges and the opportunities I’ve had along the way,” said Kormondy. “Getting to work not only with faculty and staff but also the community, business people, leaders and shakers was extremely rewarding.”

Originally from New York, Kormondy’s interest in higher education did not start off immediately after high school. He entered the navy in 1946 and was stationed in Cambridge, Maryland where he trained as a pharmacist’s mate second class. Only after completing his tour did he enroll in Tusculum College, where he became fascinated by biology. He later went on to pursue his graduate degrees before going into teaching and administration.

Also a celebrated author, Kormondy has written and contributed to several publications including books on ecology, biology and academia.

Funding opportunities for faculty advancement

In reflecting upon his many years of service to the University of Hawai‘i, Kormondy created two endowed funds to support faculty and staff at both UH Hilo and UH West O‘ahu.

“I believe in rewarding good people for what they do,” said Kormondy. “In my experience, the faculty and staff are hardworking, dedicated people.”

His gifts support professional development of faculty and staff by funding activities including the attendance of professional meetings, workshops and seminars, honoraria for workshops and seminars held on the respective campuses and the purchase of materials and equipment for research and training.

Added Kormondy, “For those in higher education, the opportunities for advancement are fairly limited in Hawai‘i as compared to other states. Anything that helps reward these folks for the work they do, every little bit helps.”

In addition to the two endowed funds for faculty and staff, Kormondy also helped to endow the Frank T. Inouye Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2003 at UH Hilo and named in honor of the college’s first director, has funded scholarships at UH West O‘ahu, and has generously remembered UH in his estate plans. Kormondy was a trailblazer in helping raise funds for the scholarship, which supports UH Hilo students pursuing a degree from the College of Arts and Sciences.

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.