History of the College

Leeward Community College opened its doors in the fall of 1968 as the first college in the University of Hawai'i system to be developed without a connection to a pre-existing technical school. The college’s guiding principle was “innovation” – a readiness to depart from tradition in order to bring the best of current educational practices to our students.

In 1968, Leonard T. Tuthill, our first Provost, welcomed over 1,640 students into humble old buildings that once housed Pearl City Kai Elementary School. That first semester witnessed more than twice the anticipated number of students ready to explore the “Community College” experience.

In the spring of 1969, the College moved to its current location near the geographic center of O'ahu, between Pearl City and Waipahu. Since those beginnings in inauspicious temporary facilities, enrollment in credit classes has grown to place the College among the largest community colleges in the State. Approximately 7,000 students are regularly enrolled each semester in liberal arts and career and technical education programs offered on campus, at off-campus locations in the community, and through distance-education courses. 

Take a step back in time as we prepare for our 50th Anniversary celebration

Groundbreaking on June 14, 1967


Newsletter clippings of Pearl City Kai Elementary School rooms.

newspaper clippings of Pearl Kai Elementary School rooms, Humble Beginnings

Our first buildings, Library, Admin, BS, PS:

Our first buildings, Library, Admin, BS, PS

Newspaper coverage of our first day of classes

Newspaper coverage of our first day of classes

More will be added.