By Kerry Miller Share Del.icio.us
Sept. 17 was a special day for Hawaii Pacific University President Chatt G. Wright. The Waialae Iki Ridge resident turned 65, celebrated his 30th anniversary as the school’s head honcho, and the day also marked Wright’s first day of employment with HPU (Wright started work on Sept. 17, 1972, first as president of Hawaii Pacific College).
“It’s serendipity that all that happened to be that way,” he says.
Wright graced MidWeek‘s cover twice in 1989 (in August and October) and for a third time in August of 2005, pictured with HPU students. Today, Wright is one of the longest-serving university presidents in the country, something of which he is very proud. He feels a great deal of indebtedness to the HPU board of trustees, led by William E. Aull (HPU board chairman), saying, “I thank them for their very generous support for all of these years.
“It’s a wonderful realization of plans that were laid out some 30-some-odd years ago. When I started, it had 57 students and an annual budget of $200,000. Today we have 8,500 students,” he continues, adding that the school has grown from a purely teaching university to being a more comprehensive one, with sponsored research endeavors in marine studies and publishing.
Outside of work, Wright likes to escape from the office environment and enjoy the great outdoors, or the company of his wife and children.
“My hobbies are fly-fishing - I love to do that. I just came back from Alaska where I was fishing for trout and salmon. I also enjoy bird hunting and playing tennis.”
Wright’s wife, Janice, is the owner of The Wright Collection, a company that produces custom-made evening bags for women.
The couple has three children: a son, 35, who teaches school in San Antonio, Texas, another son, 31, who ventured to Alaska with his dad recently and is a computer executive in Denver, Colo., and a 27-year-old daughter who is a student at UCLA.
“I also have four grandchildren,” adds the busy dad and grandad.
- Kerry Miller
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