Leaders of Hawaii Pacific University and Oceanic Institute today announced their long-awaited merger, making the 53-year-old research center a formal part of the Hawaii’s largest private university.
Completed on Jan. 1, the merger followed review and approval from the State of Hawaii through the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources and the Dept. of the Attorney General, as well as recent separate votes in support of the new relationship by the respective governing boards of OI and HPU. Leaders of OI and HPU met Monday with staff members of the Oceanic Institute to begin the process of transitioning them into the university.
“This is a merger that makes great sense for both OI and HPU,” said HPU President Geoffrey Bannister. “Oceanic Institute’s successes in integrating and leveraging the research of various departments within the institute will help to inspire additional multi-disciplinary research within the university. HPU will benefit through the ability of faculty and students throughout the university to study and conduct research at OI.\"
“The result of all of this will be strengthened research, service and learning capabilities to address questions of great importance to Hawaiʻi and to many others around the world.”
“The special research capacities we have developed at Oceanic Institute are of keen interest to a growing number of concerns in the United States and in nations literally around the world,” said Shaun Moss, president of HPU OI. “Our new status as a university-wide institute within HPU will help us to deepen those capacities and to form new relationships with other concerns that have interest in our work. This merger is clearly a win/win for all involved.”
Oceanic Institute traces its roots to 1960 when the State of Hawaii leased land to the Pacific Foundation for Marine Research to develop an institute for marine education, marine science and ocean industry. Initially known as the Makapuʻu Oceanic Center, it became the Oceanic Institute in 1972.
OI became an affiliate of HPU in 2003. Today, the institute employs about 50 scientists, technicians and support workers, who are now employees of the university.