HONOLULU (KHON2) — Students and faculty headed down the main entry road to Hawaii Community College – Palamanui in North Kona, may do a double take on the street, since it’s just been renamed.
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Since opening it’s doors back in 2015, the Hawaii CC – Palamanui location had known one name for its main entry road in North Kona.
However, a change has been made to the road’s name to honor Rockne Freitas, the late Hawaii CC chancellor who’s help was instrumental to the development of the new campus.
The main entry road to the campus will now be known as “Rockne Freitas Way,” a decision made as of Aug. 17, at the University of Hawai’i Board of Regents meeting.
Makai and Makoa – Freitas’ sons – were both in attendance at the meeting to show their support of the decision and express their gratitude.
“Dad believed in education,” said Makai Freitas at the meeting. “He believed education was a path forward, so the (symbolism) of Rockne Freitas Way resonates a lot for us.”
After his 11-year career as a All-Pro NFL lineman, Freitas took on many administration roles during his 23-years with the University of Hawaii.
According to the University, he was a “pioneer in Native Hawaiian advancement.”
Freitas is also recognized as a leader in the establishment of Hawaii Papa O Ke Ao, a plan with the goal of turning UH into the model indigenous-serving higher education institution in the state and the nation.
“While at Hawai‘i Community College, he had a vision on ways to help the youth of West Hawai‘i and inspired the community to make the campus at Pālamanui a reality,” said Interim Hawai‘i CC Chancellor Susan Kazama in her testimony to the BOR. “His legacy is his strong advocacy and advancement of Native Hawaiians and other underserved populations. His impact on our college will always be felt. Naming the entryway after Rockne Freitas is an appropriate honor to preserve his legacy.”
An event will be held later in the semester, hosted by Hawaii CC, to commemorate the celebratory change.
Raynette “Kalei” Haleamau-Kam, the director of Hawai‘i CC – Palamanui, has been with the college for several years and was able to see the transformation brought to the school thanks to Freitas’ efforts.
“I would like to mahalo Rockne for his leadership and tenacity to not give up on our community,” said Haleamau-Kam. “Now it is up to us to continue his vision and preserve his legacy.”