Kapiolani Community College

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Seal of the University of Hawai‘i System

Kapi‘olani Community College, formerly Kapi‘olani Technical School, is a public, co-educational commuter college in Honolulu, Hawai‘i situated on the slopes of Diamond Head in Waikīkī. It is one of ten branches of the University of Hawai‘i System anchored by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.



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Kapi‘olani Community College is renowned for its cactus gardens, a popular tourist attraction. The school has named its buildings for various native Hawaiian plants, some of which may be found in the campus gardens.

Kapi‘olani Community College is primarily a vocational school with technical, occupational and professional programs in business education, food service and hospitality education, and nursing. Nationally, Kapi‘olani Community College has been recognized for its programs in health sciences and education for emergency medical services. Other students attend Kapi‘olani Community College as a starting point before moving on to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa to complete a bachelor's degree. Of all the community colleges in the University of Hawai‘i System, Kapi‘olani Community College has the largest liberal arts student body with over 4,500 students enrolled annually.


Originally located at Pensacola Street and Kapi‘olani Boulevard (from which the school gets its name), adjacent to President William McKinley High School in the Makiki community, Kapi‘olani Community College was established in 1946 as Kapi‘olani Technical College. The school was administered by the Territory of Hawai‘i as one of its chief vocational schools, specializing in food service. In 1965, its curricula was modified and became an open-door public college administered by the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. As part of the reallignment of programs, the school adopted its current name.


Kapi‘olani Community College experienced rapid growth in the 1970s and in need of new, larger facilities. In 1974, the Board of Regents acquired a 52 acre (210,000 m²) parcel of land on the sloped of Diamond Head in Waikīkī, formerly owned by the United States Army. Kapi‘olani Community College opened its second campus at Fort Ruger, the only college in the University of Hawai‘i System to have two campuses of its own. The Board of Regents then agreed to move with a complete transfer of programs to the Fort Ruger campus and close the Makiki campus. Kapi‘olani Community College finally completed the transfer in the late 1980s.

National acclaim

Kapi‘olani Community College gained national attention in 1976 when radiology instructors Roland Clements and Harry Nakamura developed a new hip x-ray technique. In 1986, Kapi‘olani Community College's respiratory care program won a national award as an outstanding vocational education program. Also in the late 1980s, Gallaudet University Regional Center opened at the Fort Ruger campus.

Recent developments

Kapi‘olani Community College is currently in the process of establishing the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, already challenging other notable culinary schools in the world to provide quality talent.


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