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Higher Education

Kitty Lagareta, chairman and CEO, Communications Pacific, and David McClain, acting president, University of Hawaii.

Both Kitty Lagareta and David McClain have names that are top-of-mind when you mention: University of Hawaii or Evan Dobelle. Both have emerged from the fray relatively unscathed.

Photo: Jimmy Forrest

"I think Kitty is a force to be reckoned with. The fact that she came in with quite a number of other regents [in 2003] and, from almost day one, people noticed her, says something about her," observes Rep. K. Mark Takai, chair of the higher education committee. Lagareta, a close advisor to Gov. Linda Lingle during her 1998 and 2002 campaigns, who recently traveled with the governor's official delegation to Israel, was already well known in business circles, especially since leading the buyout of Communications-Pacific from corporate giant Hill and Knowlton in 1998.

McClain, a former senior economist under President Jimmy Carter, who also served in Vietnam as an Army first lieutenant, is somewhat of an anomaly at the university. He has a good relationship with the local business community and has risen through the ranks, since starting there in 1991, to emerge as acting president in 2004, with many supporters.

Takai says, "I think both of them will play a significant role in shaping the direction of the university as we celebrate our 100th anniversary and as we move into our second century."

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