Founded in 1955, Chaminade University of Honolulu has actually occupied a place in Hawaii’s life and culture for much longer. When the Society of Mary sent priests to Hawaii in 1883, they established an academy for boys, the Saint Louis School, which continues to exist; in 1955, Chaminade began as the Saint Louis Junior College, providing a way for students to continue their education. Named for the Society of Mary’s founded, Chaminade became a four-year college in 1957, then a university in the 1970s. Chaminade is known for its academic rigor, like most Catholic colleges, but also for its diversity; Chaminade is not only one of just three Marianist colleges in the US, but also a Native Hawaiian-serving institution.
Academic ProgramsChaminade has a reputation for the values that have made Catholic higher education synonymous with excellence for generations – academic rigor, intellectual exploration, and community engagement among them. But Chaminade has also made an impact on cultural and civic life in Hawaii because of its commitment to the people of the island. As a Native Hawaiian-serving institution, Chaminade puts Hawaiian needs at the center of its curriculum, in both its traditional liberal arts programs and its professional education. Highly ranked programs in areas like business, nursing, and criminology – the essentials of urban life – have made Chaminade a destination for future leaders.
Like traditional liberal arts colleges, Chaminade keeps student/faculty ratios very low, around 11:1, and class sizes are generally less than 19 students. That means more of Chaminade’s 2500 students get the chance to develop meaningful mentoring relationships with faculty members, take part in real research, and develop strong bonds with classmates for collaborative learning. Service, research, and internships are crucial to Chaminade’s curriculum and campus life, while numerous online degree programs have allowed Chaminade to stretch its influence even further across Hawaii and the islands of the Pacific.
Student LifeNearly three-quarters female, Chaminade’s student body is also highly diverse, with more than half of students identifying as Asian or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. With Chaminade’s unique population, it should be no surprise that cultural events and organizations are a deep part of student life. Many indigenous clubs on campus – such as the Hawaiian, Samoan, and Micronesian clubs – take part in cultural events such as the Pacific Island Review, as well as special occasions and festivals. Other groups promote professional networking, like the Student Nurses’ Association and the Forensics Science Club.
Students also take part in many official events and activities designed to promote spiritual growth and community ties, from recreation and intramural sports to religious groups and service projects. Community service is highly encouraged and actively fostered through service learning, student organizations, and Catholic charitable activities, such as serving at homeless shelters and community centers. Chaminade prioritizes the college as a community of diversity and harmony, and every aspect of student life is designed to enrich peace and justice.