Regents Select Lassner as University of Hawaii President

UH's longtime technology executive and current interim president beat out retired Army Gen. Francis Wiercinski.

·By Alia Wong

After a nearly year-long search, David Lassner was chosen as the new president of the University of Hawaii by the school’s Board of Regents on Monday.

Lassner, UH’s longtime information technology executive, has been serving as the university’s interim president since September 2013.

One of two finalists, he was selected over retired Army Gen. Francis Wiercinski after a tense, two-hour discussion during which regents debated the integrity of the selection process and the two candidates’ qualifications.

Regent John C. Dean hands in his ballot supporting Lassner. Fellow regent Coralie Chun Matayoshi, who voted for Wiercinski, looks on.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

Lassner received 11 votes, Wiercinski two, and there were two abstentions from regents who said the selection process was too flawed for them to make a decision. 

“I think David (Lassner) understands the new normal,” said Regent Chuck Gee, another longtime UH administrator who served under five university presidents and three acting presidents during his tenure. “The new normal means three times more challenges, three times less resources to get the job done.”

In explaining their votes for Lassner, most regents cited his intimate familiarity with the university, his experience in academia and his ability to bring about change at UH while maintaining stability. 

David Lassner at a public forum in May.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat

During a public appearance last month, Lassner promised to make UH an indigenous-serving university, a model for sustainability and 21st-century technology, and

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Alia Wong

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Did the Board of Regents make the right decision in selecting Lassner?