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We Are Leeward

Leeward Community College’s proven commitment to affordable, quality education is a foundation of our mission. As part of the University of Hawai‘i system, we are dedicated and responsive to our community, providing an open door to the world of educational opportunities.

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.


We aspire to be the leading indigenous-serving community college dedicated to inclusion, innovation, and our Hawaiian sense of place.


At Leeward Community College, we mālama all students and affirm our special commitment to Native Hawaiians. We transform the lives of our students through high-quality, accessible, and affordable education.

Ka ʻŌlelo Nuʻukia

Kia mākou e kū ma ke ‘ano he kulanui kaiāulu ka‘ika‘ina kāko‘o ‘ōiwi e kūpa‘a ana i ka lōkahi, ka mana‘o hou, a me ke kuleana o ke aloha ‘āina.

Ke Ala Nu‘ukia

Ma ke Kulanui Kaiaulu o ‘Ewa a me Waiʻanae, mālama mākou i nā haumāna a pau a kūpa‘a mau nō ho‘i i nā ‘ōiwi o Hawai‘i. Hoʻololi mākou i ke ola o nā haumāna ma o ka hoʻonaʻauao kilohana, ke ala e hiki ai i ka hoʻonaʻauao, a me ka hoʻonaʻauao makepono.

These core values shape Leeward Community College’s mission:

Indigenous Resources

Ka ‘Umeke Kā‘eo at Leeward Community College offers a repository of indigenous resources and professional development programs. It includes sections for professional growth, support, reflections, and Native Hawaiian values to strengthen the connection between the college community and these ancestral lands.


Kawaimanomano Group

Strategic Plan

Over the course of a year-and-a-half, we at Leeward have dedicated our time and resources to revise our mission and vision, and create our Strategic Plan. Through a thoughtful process that involved collecting feedback from employees and students, over multiple rounds of review and revisions, we now have a plan based on two guiding principles (equity, sustainability) and four pillars (student success, thriving employees, high-quality physical and digital resources, and Native Hawaiian place of learning).

Our Strategic Plan is the foundation for our efforts in all areas of the campus, as we strive to be the leading indigenous-serving community college dedicated to inclusion, innovation, and our Hawaiian sense of place.

Leeward Community College Strategic Plan, 2023-2029

Hōʻoia ʻĀina, Land Acknowledgement

Leeward Community College, with profound reflection, offers this Hō‘oia ‘Āina, Land Acknowledgement Statement, recognizing Hawai‘i as an indigenous space whose original people are today identified as Native Hawaiians. 

Leeward Community College upholds the University of Hawaii’s commitment to the well-being of our indigenous communities. This Hō‘oia ‘Āina honors the relationship between kānaka ‘ōiwi and the land upon which the college sits. 

With much aloha, this statement pays respect to the ʻāina ʻōiwi of our Puʻuloa campus and Wai‘anae Moku Education Center, both located on the mokupuni of O‘ahu, moku of ‘Ewa, ahupua‘a of Waiawa, as well as the moku of Wai‘anae and the ahupua‘a of Lualualei.

This Hō‘oia ‘Āina welcomes all who gather on these ancestral lands.

Our Oli

“Hālau Puʻuloa”

From the Bishop Museum Archives, MS Case 4 M61 Pages 94 to 95
Attributed to Moekali, ʻEā by Dr. Kekuewa Kikiloi
Transcription and Translation by Kepoʻo Keliʻipaʻakaua

Leeward CC’s college oli (chant) describes the beauty and breath-taking expanse of Puʻuloa.  Before it was Pearl Harbor, the numerous fishponds in the harbor fed the growing population of ʻEwa.  We use this oli to welcome visitors to our home and extol the virtues of Puʻuloa. This chant was found in the Bishop Museum Archives and translated by Kepoʻo Keliʻipaʻakaua, a Leeward alum, while he was researching his master’s thesis. He graciously agreed to allow the college to adopt this wonderful treasure.

Hālau Pu‘uloa he awa lau no ‘Ewa
Expansive is Puʻuloa a harbor for ʻEwa

He awa lau moana na ke Kēhau
An extensive harbor belonging to the Kēhau breeze

He ki‘owai lua he muliwai no ‘Ewa
An abundant, overflowing estuary for ʻEwa

No ua ‘āina kai (i‘a) hāmau leo
To this land belongs the iʻa that silences voices

E hāmau ana ka leo o ke kanaka
The voices of people will be silenced

‘O pānea mai auane‘i hilahila
Yet, a response is always given lest there be shame

Ke‘eo ua i‘a la i loko o ke kai
The aforementioned iʻa fills the sea

O ke kai puakai ‘ula ai ke kai o Kuhia– e
from the sacred reddish sea to the sea of Kuhia

He mai, he mai
Welcome, welcome

Eia nō mākou nei.
Here we are.

Our Design Elements

Leeward shark pattern design

Ka‘ahupāhau Shark Pattern

As you browse our website you will notice a pattern that depicts shark fins cutting through moving waters. This graphic represents the protective presence of the shark goddess, Ka‘ahupāhau, and her companions, ever-present, in constant motion, watching over Pu‘uloa.

This design was inspired by Kumu Momi Kamahele and illustrated by the Osaki Creative Group.

Drawing of honu

Wai‘anae Moku Honu

Native Hawaiians organize the world according to its natural pairings. One fundamental duality is between Uka and Kai (land and ocean), with the honu (turtle) being one of the unique creatures that can traverse the boundary between the two. Our honu design symbolizes this ability in our Wai‘anae Moku students, who embody the beauty and strength of Wai‘anae and will eventually cross into a new environment, wherever their kuleana leads them.

Story provided by Leeward faculty, Genai Keli‘ikuli. Honu illustrated by former Leeward CC employee and graduate, Tomi Rivera.

More About Our College

group of students at college fair
Leeward administrators group on campus
three female graduates in cap and gown
Chancellor Penaloza and Alyssa MacDonald