(left to right) Governor Ben Cayetano, Sen. Inouye, UH president Kenneth
Mortimer, and Sen. Daniel K. Akaka at the Ag Science III dedication in 2000.
The Senator’s legacy includes many intangibles: hope, pride,
community spirit. But it includes things more tangible as well, one of the
solidest of them a building. He was instrumental in securing the federal funds
used to construct UH-Manoa’s Agricultural Sciences III, a $25 million advanced
agricultural research facility.
By the mid-1990s, the need for such a facility had become clear.
Many of the buildings that had originally housed CTAHR had been repurposed, and
displaced researchers were scattered throughout the campus, often working in
small and unsuitable spaces. The department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal
Sciences was divided among 7 buildings! Consultation and collaboration were
more difficult, and laboratory facilities and sufficient classrooms for students
were lacking. Much of the CTAHR ‘ohana needed a home.
Agricultural Sciences III research facility.
“A building for CTAHR was not the highest priority for UH and the
State,” former Planning and Management Systems Director Walter Harada concedes.
“However, once Sen. Inouye secured Federal funds for Ag Sci III, it paved the
way for CTAHR and UH to get matching State funds. I think it would be fair to
say that Ag Sci III became a reality only because Sen. Inouye agreed to help.”
The building, dedicated in January 2000, now houses the offices,
labs, and classrooms of the Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering and Human Nutrition,
Food and Animal Sciences departments, along with some members of Tropical Plant
and Soil Sciences and O‘ahu County Extension. Here the Western Insular Pacific
SunGrant Subcenter biofuel project researches fast-growing feedstocks for
plant-based energy, and here are test kitchens where students, under the
mentorship of their professors, formulate, test, and create the value-added
local foods sold under UH’s Kulanui brand. The CHL project is housed within its
walls, as are labs and offices focusing on synthetic biology, the molecular genetics
of koa, and improving food safety and community nutrition. The knowledge gained
and discoveries made here, and in CTAHR’s many other facilities throughout the
state, are a tribute to Sen. Inouye’s enduring commitment to education and