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Celebrating CTAHR's First Century

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 07/21/2008 More stories >>

At the launch party for Hawaiis College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Celebrating the First 100 Years, editors Barry Brennan (left) and Jim Hollyer (right) and book designer Nancy Hoffman-Valies pose with their handiwork, a beautifully illustrated, 300-page history of CTAHR.

At the launch party for Hawaiis College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Celebrating the First 100 Years, editors Barry Brennan (left) and Jim Hollyer (right) and book designer Nancy Hoffman-Valies pose with their handiwork, a beautifully illustrated, 300-page history of CTAHR.

More farm than college: the Manoa campus and its farm as it appeared in 1912. The I-shaped Hawaii Hall and the rectangular engineering building still stand today; the L-shaped building held a chemistry lab. Mid-Pacific Institute is visible in the background.

More farm than college: the Manoa campus and its farm as it appeared in 1912. The I-shaped Hawaii Hall and the rectangular engineering building still stand today; the L-shaped building held a chemistry lab. Mid-Pacific Institute is visible in the background.

Horiculturalists Haruyuki Kamemoto and Richard Hamilton are among 52 outstanding CTAHR achievers given special mention in the book. Here they examine guava fruit.

Horiculturalists Haruyuki Kamemoto and Richard Hamilton are among 52 outstanding CTAHR achievers given special mention in the book. Here they examine guava fruit.

A crops class in 1919 selects seed corn from a Manoa campus field where buildings now stand. Five decades later, CTAHR’s James Brewbaker helped establish Hawai‘i’s seed corn industry, which was valued at $94 million in 2006.

A crops class in 1919 selects seed corn from a Manoa campus field where buildings now stand. Five decades later, CTAHR’s James Brewbaker helped establish Hawai‘i’s seed corn industry, which was valued at $94 million in 2006.

Gathered around a microphone, 4-H youth find their voice. Today’s 4-H programs serve 15,000 Hawai‘i youngsters each year.

Gathered around a microphone, 4-H youth find their voice. Today’s 4-H programs serve 15,000 Hawai‘i youngsters each year.

Keiki take part in college festivities for the International Year of the Child, declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1979.

Keiki take part in college festivities for the International Year of the Child, declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1979.

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Hawai‘i residents who wished to pursue a college or university degree faced high costs and long separations from their families while studying on the U.S. mainland or abroad. In 1907, the Territorial Legislature brought the promise of higher education to Hawai‘i by establishing the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which was the forerunner of the University of Hawai‘i, its flagship Manoa campus, and its present-day College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

You Can Contribute to CTAHR’s Living History
Do you see a familiar face in the photos illustrating this story? Have you flipped through the pages of The First 100 Years and found you remember additional details? Do you recall the events described in the book differently? Or would you just like to know more about how the book came about? We want to know more about your part in CTAHR’s history. A wiki site is planned for the book, but in the meantime you can contact Barry Brennan (barryb@hawaii.edu or 956-0885) or Jim Hollyer (hollyer@hawaii.edu or 956-9530) to share your story. In addition, Barry and Jim will be participating in UH Manoa’s first annual Author Fest, to be held September 9 and 10, 2008, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Kuykendall Hall, Room 106. This event is open to the public.

To mark our centennial, CTAHR has published Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources: Celebrating the First 100 Years. This 300-page, full-color, hardcover book is beautifully illustrated with nearly 700 images that trace the college’s growth from a house near Thomas Square in Honolulu to a statewide campus that conducts instruction, research, and outreach (extension) at 27 locations on five islands.

Editors Barry Brennan and James Hollyer and designer Nancy Hoffman-Valies have created an enduring history of the college and its people. Equally suited for the coffee table or the reference library, The First 100 Years distills the knowledge and memories of more than 90 contributors and recounts more than 1,700 individuals, including 52 outstanding achievers honored for their unique impact.

Delving into the origins of our college and university, the book ties past and present together. Readers may be surprised to learn that when classes opened in 1908, faculty members outnumbered the ten students, of which only five were pursuing degrees. By comparison, more than 800 students are presently enrolled in the college’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Despite these changes, today’s students can find in the 1908 curriculum many subjects that are still taught a century later, including agriculture, household economics, and engineering.

Hawai‘i growers may recognize in the text and photographs familiar varieties of food crops and ornamentals developed by the college as well as invasive diseases and pests that were successfully addressed in the past or are causing trouble today. Reminiscences of the peak days of sugar, pineapple, and livestock production sit alongside accounts of our rapidly expanding seed corn and aquaculture industries.

The book recounts discoveries made in CTAHR that have had worldwide influence, including techniques for grafting macadamia saplings and pruning coffee plants and soil studies that have helped farmers throughout the tropics feed their families. Work in range, pasture, and forest management, water and soil sciences, agricultural economics, and environmental policy has sought to meet community needs while conserving limited resources.

The human resources side of the college likewise has a long history of service that is proudly represented in The First 100 Years. Early studies in food science repeatedly disproved the mistaken belief that Hawai‘i-grown foods were nutritionally deficient. The 4-H program, introduced to the islands in 1918, each year provides leadership, citizenship, and life skills training to more than 15,000 youth throughout the state’s rural and urban communities. The college’s outreach in nutrition and wellness, child and elder care, and household resource management has helped generations of families stay healthy and strong.

The book is also a must-read for CTAHR alumni, who can follow the evolution of their departments, revisit student clubs, and spot younger versions of their friends and teachers in a treasure trove of old photographs.

For more information or to order the book, you can visit http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/order_form.pdf or contact CTAHR’s Office of Communication Services at (808) 956-7036 or ocs@ctahr.hawaii.edu.