DOI Insular Nominee Esther Kia’aina to Speaker at UOG Fall Graduation SUNDAY, Dec. 22


Guam – The University of Guam Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremonies will recognize 236 prospective graduates. 

Of the graduates, 67 will receive graduate degrees and 169 will receive undergraduate degrees. Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremonies will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in the UOG Field House.

The Commencement Ceremonies will feature keynote speaker Esther Puakela Kia’aina, First Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Reources.  Kia’aina served for nearly two decades on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff to former U.S. Representative and UOG President Dr. Robert A. Underwood and to U.S. Representative Ed Case (D-Hawai’i), and as Legislative Assistant to former U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawai’i).  Kia’aina was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas at the U.S. Department of the Interior, however she must refrain from speaking about her nomination during the commencement address.

Kia’aina was born on Guam and grew up in the village of Mangilao.  She attended San Vicente Elementary and Junior High School before graduating from the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii. She received a Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University Law School in 1998 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Southern California in 1985. She also attended the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.  

“Ms. Kia’aina is an islander who will inspire our graduates with her personal story and experiences that bring together respect for indigenous cultures, an understanding of federal policy making and the power of personal integrity,” said UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood.

Spring 2013 Commencement Ceremonies will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, 2013 in the UOG Field House.  The public is invited to attend.
[Esther Puakela Kia’aina]