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University Archives

President's Office

Fujio Matsuda Records, 1939-1986

Manuscript A1993:010

Fujio Matsuda

(Miyamoto Photgraph Collection, Faculty Images Series, 31469t)

Table of Contents

Summary Information
Biographical Sketch
Historical Survey
Scope and Contents note
Administrative Information
Controlled Access Headings
Collection Inventory
Board of Regents
University of Hawaii
University of Hawaii at Manoa
State Government
United States Government, 1952-1984
Inaugural, 1975

Summary Information

University of Hawaii at Manoa Hamilton Library
Matsuda, Fujio "Fudge", President, 1924-
University of Hawaii. President's Office.
Fujio Matsuda Papers
Manuscript .A1993:010
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1970-1984
Date [inclusive]
37.5 Linear feet: 28 record center boxes and 2 document boxes
Repository Information
Archives & Manuscripts Department University of Hawaii at Manoa Library 2550 McCarthy Mall Honolulu, Hawaii 96822 Phone: (808) 956-6047 Fax: (808) 956-5968 Email: URL:
The records of the Office of the President, Fujio Matsuda administration, were transferred to the University of Hawaii Archives in January of 1986. The sequence of these files derives largely from the period when the office was held by Matsuda. Many files, however, contain records predating the actual period of his presidential tenure. The earlier records emanate primarily from the administrations of Harlan Cleveland and Thomas H. Hamilton.

Preferred Citation note

[Item, Series,] Fujio Matsuda Papers, Archives & Manuscripts, University of Hawaii at Manoa Library.

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Biographical Sketch

On 24 July 1974, The Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii appointed Fujio "Fudge" Matsuda the ninth president of the university. He was the first Asian American to hold the position of president of a major university in the United States. (1)

Fujio Matsuda was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 18 October 1924 to immigrant parents from Japan. They owned a small saimin shop, and as a child Matsuda helped make noodles after school. He went through the public school system--Pohukaina School, Washington Intermediate School and McKinley High School. After a semester at UH, Matsuda volunteered for the Army in early 1943, beginning in the 232nd Combat Engineer Company, part of the 442nd Regiment, but transferred early to a schooling program to attend Auburn Polytechnical Institute (now Auburn University) and then to another unit just beginning basic training. (2)

Matsuda returned to the University of Hawaii when the war was over and completed two years in the engineering program before transferring to Rose Polytechnic Institute in Indiana. In 1949, he received his degree in Civil Engineering and was accepted in MIT. He received his doctorate at MIT in 1952, remained there as a researcher for two additional years, then moved to the University of Illinois for a year as researcher. Matsuda taught in department of engineering at University of Hawaii from 1955 to 1962. (3)

In 1963, Governor John A. Burns requested Matsuda to head the Hawaii State Department of Transportation. In an oral history interview with Daniel Boylan, Matsuda said he "felt a social-moral obligation to accept" the position. (4) He was responsible for the state highway, airport, and harbor systems and during his term, supervised the merger of the three into one department. He served ten years in this capacity, 1963-1973.

President Harlan Cleveland of UH asked Matsuda to return to the University to become vice president of business affairs in 1973. Cleveland resigned in December 1973, effective at the end of the summer of 1974. Both community and faculty advocated a local leader. Five candidates quickly emerged: Wytze Gorter, who had served as Chancellor at Manoa campus, who had resigned in protest when members of the Board of Regents went over his head to negotiate directly with the football coach; Matsuda; Richard Takasaki; Kenneth Lau; and Richard Kosaki, who had served UH System as head of West O'ahu College beginning in 1973. (5) Matsuda's experience as director of the transportation program of the state along with his academic background qualified him to assume this position in a very challenging time. (6) Although many faculty feared Matsuda would be a puppet to the BOR and to the governor, the Board of Regents chose him to become the ninth president of the University of Hawaii. Matsuda managed to placate the faculty, BOR and the legislature. (7)

Under Matsuda's leadership, the first system wide strategic plan was developed. The East West Center separated from the university. The university managed the reorganization of the community colleges throughout the state. At Manoa a building bonanza occurred in spite of constricted funds from the legislature for the operation of the university. Several new dormitories changed Manoa campus from a primarily commuter campus to one with more resident students. The Korean Studies Center; Marine Sciences building; the Law School and Law School library; athletic complex and Kahanamoku Swimming pool; the Institute for Astronomy; new Gilmore Hall; the Art building, built where old Gilmore Hall had been demolished: all reached completion under Matsuda's presidency. (8) The School of Architecture had its beginning and West O'ahu College became University of Hawaii West O'ahu during Matsuda's administration. UHM also became a Sea Grant institution. (9)

Matsuda resigned as university president in 1984. The Fujio Matsuda Center was established in 1985 to serve as a technological education training center. Matsuda participated in the formation of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, a non-profit organization involved in developing photovoltaic and hybrid systems in Fiji, serving as chairman of its board. Her served on other boards, including the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii and Japan-American Institute of Management Science (JAIMS), a non-profit postgraduate institute for intercultural management education. In 2003 he led a fund raising drive which raised nine million dollars to save the Japanese Cultural Center from having to sell its building and possibly disband. (10) In 2004, Matsuda was honored in Hawaii as a "Living Treasure." (11)

1. Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa, who was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, became president of San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) in 1968.

2. Daniel Boylen, "Fujio Matsuda Oral History Interview," 14 July 1978, John Burns Oral History Project, Phase II, in Matsuda Presidential papers, box 2 folder 25, pp. 1,7. This source contains much more detail on Matsuda's military service and on his time as head of the Department of Transportation of the State of Hawaii.

3. Robert M. Kamins and Robert E. Potter, Building a Rainbow: A History of the Buildings and Grounds of the University of Hawaii's Manoa Campus, p. 117.

4. Boylan, p. 15.

5. Kamins and Potter, pp. 117, 252-253.

6. In addition to Gorter's resignation over the intrusion of members of the Board of Regents into the campus affairs in connection with the contract with the football coach, Cleveland himself had resigned after considerable pressure from members of BOR. Faculty had even taken their conflicts with Cleveland to the point of asking for the legislative auditor to investigate his administration. See Kamins and Potter, pp. 115-117.

7. Ibid.

8. Victor N. Kobayashi, Building a Rainbow: A History of the Buildings and Grounds of UH's Manoa Campus, pp. 156-168, 175-178; and Kamins and Potter, pp. 118-119.

9. Kamins and Potter, p. 122.

10. "Cultural Center Safe, Thanks to Samurai," Honolulu Advertiser, 1 Feb. 2004,, accessed 11 May 2011.

11. "Six More Named Living Treasures," Honolulu: Star Bulletin, 25 January 2004,, accessed 11 May 2012.

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Historical Survey

With the exception of the first semester of the College of Hawaii, spring 1908, there has always been either a president, interim president, or acting president of the University of Hawaii. That first semester, Willis T. Pope refused the title of Acting President and said he would accept the title Acting Dean instead. By the following autumn, John W. Gilmore, the first president of College of Hawaii, had arrived from his former post at the University of California.

Since the beginning of College of Hawaii there have been fourteen presidents of the University; six acting presidents; an acting Dean; and one interim president who also became president. As mentioned above, Willis T. Pope functioned as acting dean for spring semester 1908. He recruited five students from the Territorial Normal School where he was vice principle to attend College of Hawaii. They took preparatory classes under Pope and some others on the faculty. The following fall semester, under President John W. Gilmore, the classes taught were college level classes. Gilmore resigned in 1913, and John S. Donaghho, professor of mathematics, became acting president.

Arthur L. Dean was hired, effective fall semester 1914, as president, coming from Yale University. He remained president until 1927 when he resigned from the University and became head of the Pineapple Research Institute. President David L. Crawford, professor of entomology, became president in 1927 and held the office for the longest tenure in the history of UH, until 1941. He resigned after a controversial battle with some members of the Board of Regents and at least one faculty person. Nevertheless, he seems to have been well liked by the students and a considerable portion of the faculty. Arthur Keller, dean of the college of Applied Sciences at UH, became acting president.

Shortly after the entry of the United States into World War II, Gregg M. Sinclair became the fourth president of University of Hawaii. He retired in 1955, being the second longest president in the university's history. Paul Bachman became president immediately following President Sinclair's retirement. His early death in January 1957 gave him the shortest term as president. Bachman's death occurred in the midst of the planning for the Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration (dating from the legislative approval of the College of Hawaii) held March 1957. Willard Wilson, professor of English and administrator in the University, functioned as acting president for about one and a half years.

Following World War II, the University expanded to include a campus in Hilo. Hilo College was a part of the University at Manoa. Almost twenty years later, in 1965, the Hawaii State Legislature created the University of Hawaii System, incorporating many of the technical colleges in the state as community colleges in the System and raising Hilo College to University of Hawaii at Hilo. With this action, the university president's role expanded to be in charge of all campuses with intermediaries over the individual campuses. At times, the president filled the role of chancellor for Manoa campus, as well as president of the system; at other times the two offices were separated with two different individuals filling the offices. As a result, some of the records in the President's Office record group will not contain as much material on Manoa campus; one should also refer to the records in the Chancellor's Office for additional material.

Laurence H. Snyder became the sixth president of University of Hawaii in 1958. Under his leadership, the University of Hawaii tried something very unusual, quitting participation in football in the fall of 1961. The regents reversed their decision less than one year later. Snyder left the presidency effective 1963, to be replaced by Thomas Hale Hamilton. Hamilton was president for another five years, resigning the presidency amid a struggle over the tenure of a controversial professor in 1968. Two acting presidents, Robert Hiatt and Richard S. Takasaki, led UH unitl the appointment of Harlan Cleveland as president became effective in fall semester 1969.

Fujio Matsuda, professor of civil engineering, became president in 1974 until 1984. Albert J. Simone became president following Matsuda's retirement and remained in the presidency until 1992. The final acting president, Paul C. Yuen, held that office for the academic year 1992/1993. Kenneth P. Mortimer became president in 1993 until 2001. Evan S. Dobelle was president until 2004. David McClain, professor of economics became interim president and then president until 2009. M.R.C. Greenwood became the first woman to head the University in August 2009.

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Scope and Contents note

This sequence of records fo the University President's Office derives primarily from the period when Fujio Matsuda held the office from 1974 until his resignatrion in 1984. Please note that certain subject files from the previous terms of Greg M. Sinclair, covering the years 1952-1953; Thomas Hale Hamilton, 1965-1967; and Harlan Clevelnad, 1970-1974 were included with the records at the time of the tranfer to the Archives. These have been left in that position in the arrangement, rather than refiing them to the "original location." Many of these files were apparently active when Matsuda took office. There are also some pages from 1984-1985 when Albert Simone was appointed to serve as acting president after Matsuda's resignation. The materials were transferred to the Archives in January 1986.

The bulk of the materials date from 1970 to 1984. Then consist of correspondence and reports pertaining to the operation of the University of Hawaii as well as controversial issues occuring on campus as a reflection of the social changes taking place during that period. Some of the issues involve the Equal Pay for Equal Work investigation concerning three female professors who filed sex discrimination charges during Cleveland's term, campus unrest including a folder of photographs and names of students participating in the Bachman hall protests against the Vietnam War, the denial of the Navy's reuqest for a list of Black and Hispanic students to recruit for officer training programs, the controversial laos contract employees and union strike matters.

The materials also show the administration of the regulations adopted by the Board of Regents; the Faculty Senate's role in obtaining promotions, salaries, leaves, etc.; the construction of new buildings; and the establishment of the law school and other programs. The Native Hawaiian Education Act, International Studies Program, and Tropic Lightning University (a consortium program to provide educational opportunities to soldiers) illustrate Matsuda's leadership in expanding education to non-traditional students.

There are letters that show the tight relationship Matsuda had with Senator Daniel Inouye, senator Daniel Akaka, and Senator Spark Matsunaga as well as Representative Patsy Mink and Governor George Ariyoshi. A letter signed by President Carter on White House stationary praises matsuda for his role in supporting alternative energy research. The folder of Honorary Degrees includes the reviewing policies and procedures and is rich in support papers with biographies of the nominees. Some mentioned are: Spark matsunaga, Chin Ho, Lowell Dillingham, Babby Pahinui, Abraham K. Akaka, Beatrice Krauss, James Michner, Margaret Thatcher, and more. On a more personal level, Dan Boylan's interview with Fujio Matusda gives excellent insight into the man.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Hawaii at Manoa Hamilton Library, 2011-10-03
2550 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI, 96822


Material with personal information may be redacted by the Archives staff. Some fragile items may need to be handled by the staff only. Use of audiovisual material may require the production of listening or viewing copies.

Copyright Notice

Copyright is retained by the authors of items in this collection, their descendants, or the repository if copyright has been signed over, as stipulated by United States copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user to determine any copyright restrictions, obtain written permission, and pay any fees necessary for the reproduction or proposed use of the materials.

Processing Information note

Processed by Patricia Ogburn

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Controlled Access Headings


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Collection Inventory

Board of Regents; 1979-1985 (Bulk, 1980-1982); 3.75 Linear feet: 2 record center boxes, 1 document box holding 26 folders

University of Hawaii; 1963-1986 (Bulk, 1981-1984); 1.0 Linear foot: 132 folders

University of Hawaii at Manoa; 1961-1985 (Bulk, 1980-1984); 2.0 Linear feet

State Government; 1958-1986 (Bulk, 1980-1982); 0.5 Linear feet

United States Government; 1952-1984 (Bulk, 1980-1982); 1/2 docutment box containing 18 folders.

Description of Contents

Series contains matters regarding Faderal Agencies such as the Interior, Navy, State, and Labor Departments as well as letter from President Jimmy Carter and correspondence on the Laos contract with UH.

Speeches; September 1974-May 1984; 3.75 Linear feet: 3 record center boxes containing 272 folders.

Description of contents

Copies of all speeches given by President Matsuda from his becomeing acting president through his presidency until he resigned from office. These include his commencement addresses as well as testimony he provided as university president before the state legislature. At the end of each year is a separate folder titled "press releases" containing copies of statements released to the media.

Inaugural; 1975; 1 document box of 7 folders.

General; 1939-1984 (Bulk, 1970-1984); 15.0 Linear feet: 13 record center boxes containing 230 folders

Description of contents

Contains materials on the entire University of Hawaii System, including UH Hilo and UH West Oahu campuses, the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service activities. Personnel matters include faculty merit increases, political activity and the implementation of the APT (Auxiliary, Professional Technical) classification of personnel at UH. Information on the stadium contract and agreements with Leahi hospital, KHPR radio, the various telescopes on Mauna Kea and Haleakala, and university athletics.

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