Pacific University recently named alumnus Janalei Chun the new Director of Hawaii Outreach and Programming. Current Director Edna Gehring, also known as “Aunty Edna,” is set to retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.
“Janalei will bring new energy and ideas to the program,” Gehring said. “She will continue to build on what is currently there. She will make it her own.”
News of Chun’s appointment was announced in an email sent to the Pacific community on April 7 from Narce Rodriguez, executive director of equity, diversity and inclusion, and chair of the search committee responsible for finding Gehring’s replacement.
Rodriguez said in the email, Chun “is an experienced educational leader with more than 28 years of experience working with students and their families.”
Chun, who was an active leader within the Nā Haumāna O Hawai‘I (NHOH) Club at Pacific while she was a student, will officially start her appointment on July 10.
“She’s immediately going to hit the ground running,” Rodriguez said. “One of the first things she has to do is actually go to Hawaii, to assist with Hawaii registration procedures. She will be shadowing ‘Aunty Edna’ to see what that process is like. Then she’ll be coming back, and soon after that it will be August.”
According to Rodriguez, the search process for Gehring’s replacement originally started in November of 2017.
“Some really important things for us in the final job description was to be student oriented, student focused and able to work with our students from Hawaii,” Rodriguez said. “And to be able to work closely with alumni, parents and all stakeholders within the institution.”
Eventually three of the final candidates for the position were brought to Pacific’s campus for open dialogues with students and faculty. Rodriguez said the student voice played an important factor in the committee’s final decision.
“We did a god job of receiving and reading feedback from all the students and staff and other stakeholders,” Rodriguez said. “What we were hearing from students, especially those in NHOH, is that they really wanted someone who would be able to support them and able to carry on what NHOH has implemented.”
Gehring, who is preparing to leave Pacific after more than 35 years as a Boxer, had parting words for Chun.
“My advice,” Gehring said. “Breathe, be patient, support the haumana and have fun. Mahalo. A hui hou.”