Brigham Young University–Hawaii

Brigham Young University–Hawaii
Brigham Young University–Hawaii
Motto "Enter to learn, go forth to serve"
Established September 26, 1955
Type Private coeducational
Religious affiliation The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
President Steven C. Wheelwright
Academic staff 183
Students 2,800
Location Laie, City and County of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Campus Rural
Newspaper Ke Alaka'i
Colors Crimson and Gold         
Nickname Seasiders
Mascot Kimo the Gecko

Coordinates: 21°38′29″N 157°55′31″W / 21.64139°N 157.92528°W / 21.64139; -157.92528

Brigham Young University–Hawaii (BYU-H) is a private university located in Laie, Hawaii. It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

BYU-H was founded in 1955 and offers programs in mathematics, liberal arts, and management. The university is broadly organized into four colleges, and its parent organization, the Church Educational System, sponsors sister schools in Utah and Idaho. The university's sole focus is on undergraduate education.

Approximately 97% of the university's 2,800 students are members of the LDS Church.[1] BYU-H students are required to follow an honor code, which requires behavior in line with LDS teachings (e.g., academic honesty, adherence to dress and grooming standards, and abstinence from extramarital sex and from the consumption of drugs and alcohol). A BYU-H education is also less expensive than at similar private universities since approximately 70% of tuition is funded by LDS Church tithing funds.[2]

The university partners with the LDS Church owned Polynesian Cultural Center, the largest living museum in the State of Hawaii, which employs roughly one third of the student body. Its athletic teams compete in Division II of the NCAA and are collectively known as the BYU-H Seasiders. They are members of the Pacific West Conference and have won 19 national titles.



The building of the LDS Church's Laie Hawaii Temple was a key predecessor to the establishment of BYU–Hawaii.

The LDS Church was established in the islands in 1850 following the Edict of Toleration promulgated by Kamehameha III, giving the underground Hawai‘i Catholic Church the right to worship while at the same time allowing other faith traditions to begin establishing themselves.[citation needed] By 1919, the Church was prominent enough in the area for the church to build a temple in Laie. Two years after the temple was dedicated then-apostle for the LDS Church David O. McKay stated that the Church would build a school in the area in the future. In 1951, McKay, now President of the Church, began preliminary plans on the school, and in 1954 ground was broken for the new university.[3] BYU-H was founded in September 1955 as Church College of Hawaii to accommodate the burgeoning LDS population in the Territory of Hawai‘i. This was largely a result of McKay's views on both education and strengthening the Church outside of its longtime inter-Mountain West U.S. base. The original class consisted of 153 students and 20 faculty meeting in old World War II buildings, with Reuben D. Law as the school's first president. The school's first buildings were dedicated on December 17, 1958. The college was at first a two-year college but was reorganized in 1959 to become a four-year college. By 1961 the College had been granted four-year accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Dormitories, a cafeteria, and other buildings had also been constructed.[3]

LDS Elders established the Polynesian Cultural Center in November 1963 as a means of preserving the Pacific cultures that the Latter-day Saints had encountered in their missionary work. In the 70s, the school was also used to teach LDS missionaries pacific languages and cultures before going out to the islands. The center also provided jobs for students of the college. In 1974, the Church College of Hawaii was elevated to the rank of university by the Church Board of Education and renamed.

In September 2001 BYU Hawaii formed its School of Computing with Robert Hayden as its first dean.

The school was governed as a satellite campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah until 2004, when it was announced that the school would report directly to the Church Educational System's Board of Trustees. In 2007, Steven C. Wheelwright was announced as the University's most recent president.[3]


BYU-H is located in Laie on the north shore of Oahu, about 35 miles (56 km) north of Honolulu. The campus covers 100 acres (0.40 km2; 0.16 sq mi) between the mountains and the ocean shore. Dormitories capable of providing room and board for over 1,200 students in the Hale buildings located on the south end of campus. The Temple View Apartments provide housing for married students.[4] The school's library is the two-story Joseph F. Smith Library.[5]


Admissions and demographics

LDS students are required to pay less for tuition than non-LDS students. Students who have been on LDS missions and have attended LDS seminary or institute classes are also given special consideration. However, LDS church membership is not a requirement. Students are typically expected to have had at least a B average in high school, and an ACT score of 26 or SAT score of 1130 or above. Non-native English speakers must receive a 61 or higher on the IBT TOEFL (500 on the paper test), or a 5.5 on IELTS or 75+ on the Michigan language test.[6]

BYU-H has a higher percentage of international students than any other baccalaureate institution in the United States, with 1,039 international students or 43 percent of total enrollment.[7] Approximately 95% of the student body is LDS.[6]


University rankings (overall)
U.S. News & World Report[8] 23

For 2012, U.S. News and World Report ranked BYU-H #23 in the region.[8] The school was also listed as the #1 "best value" in the region in 2006, and was the only Hawaiian school to make a top-tier listing. 2006 marked the eighth such year BYU-H had been listed as among the top ten in value its region.[9] In 2004, Consumers Digest listed the school as the #1 best value among private universities in the U.S.[10]


BYU-H offers more than 40 bachelor degree programs, with a 17:1 student/faculty ratio.[11] The school also offers a few unique majors, including Hawaiian Studies, International Business Management, Pacific Islands Studies, and TESOL.[6] The four main academic divisions at BYU-H include the following:[12]

  • College of Language, Culture & Arts - English, Fine Arts, History, International Cultural Studies, Hawaiian Studies, ICS
  • College of Math and Sciences - Mathematics, Biology, EXS, Psychology, Biochemistry
  • College of Business, Computing & Government - Business, CIS, Political Science, Accounting/Finance
  • College of Human Development - Education, Religious Education, Social Work, TESOL & EIL


BYU-H competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II as a member of the Pacific West Conference. The "Seasiders" compete in men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross-country, men's and women's golf, softball, men's and women's tennis, volleyball, and men's and women's soccer. The school has won two women's volleyball and nine tennis championships (two men's and seven women' men's volleyball championships, along with two women's tennis championships. In its early days, BYU-H also won a National Rugby Championship in 1967, as declared by the Los Angeles Rugby Union.[13] Basketball and volleyball games are held in the George Q. Cannon Activities Center. The campus also holds nine tennis courts, an outdoor swimming pool, and soccer and softball fields.[14] Most conference home games in volleyball and women's basketball as well as additional home games in men's basketball are broadcast live around the world on BYU Television.

Student life

LDS atmosphere

According to BYU-H's Mission Statement, the school "exists to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life and in their efforts to influence the establishment of peace internationally."[15]

Honor code

A sign reminds students of BYU-H Honor Code standards

All students and faculty, regardless of religion, are required to agree to adhere to an honor code. Early forms of the BYU Honor Code are found as far back as the days of the Brigham Young Academy and educator Karl G. Maeser. Maeser created the "Domestic Organization," which was a group of teachers who would visit students at their homes to see that they were following the schools moral rules prohibiting obscenity, profanity, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

The Honor Code itself was created in 1940 at BYU and was used mainly for cases of cheating and academic dishonesty. Ernest L. Wilkinson expanded the Honor Code in 1957 to include other school standards. (At this time, Wilkinson, as President of BYU, had some authority over BYU–Hawaii as well.) This led to the Honor Code today: rules regarding chastity, dress, grooming, drugs and alcohol. A signed commitment to live the honor code is part of the application process and must be adhered by all students, faculty, and staff. Students and faculty found in violation of standards are either warned or called to meet with representatives of the Honor Council. In rare cases, students and faculty can be expelled from the school or lose tenure.[16] One significant difference between BYU's Honor Code and BYU–Hawaii's is BYU-H's prohibition of the drinking of kava by students and faculty. Kava is a traditional Polynesian drink with some drug-like side-effects.[17]


Alumni of BYU-H include Medal of Honor recipient George E. Wahlen,[18] delegate to Congress from American Samoa Eni Fa'aua'a Hunkin Faleomavaega, Jr. '64,[19] and three-time national volleyball coach of the year Mike Wilton '72.[20]


  1. ^ "Quick facts". 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  2. ^ Madsen, Grant (2004-05-04). "BYU number two value after BYU-Hawaii, says "Consumers Digest"". BYU News. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  3. ^ a b c "Brief History". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-07. [dead link]
  4. ^ "BYU-H Married Housing". BYU–Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2008-06-07. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  5. ^ "Library Map". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  6. ^ a b c "FAQ". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Colleges With the Most International Students, 2008-9". The Chronicle of Higher Education LVI (13): A22. November 20, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Regional Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "BYU in Hawaii rated as 'best value'". Star Bulletin. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  10. ^ "BYU–Hawaii". All Business. 2005-09-01. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  11. ^ BYU-H: Academics
  12. ^ "BYU-H Reorganizes into four academic colleges". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  13. ^ "BYU-H Sports". BYU–Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  14. ^ "Athletic Facilities". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-07. [dead link]
  15. ^ "BYU-H Mission". BYU–Hawaii. Archived from the original on 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  16. ^ Bergera, Gary James; Ronald Priddis (1985). "Chapter 3: Standards & the Honor Code". Brigham Young University: A House of Faith. Signature Books. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  17. ^ "BYU-H Honor Code". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-07. 
  18. ^ Gary, Wiles et al. The Quiet Hero. American Legacy Historical Press, 2007. ISBN 0979689635
  19. ^ "Eni bio". U.S. Congress. Retrieved 2008-05-09. 
  20. ^ "Mike Wilton". BYU–Hawaii. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 

External links