News Update from Leilani Kupo ’98

Leilani Kupo ’98 had been named an ACPA Diamond Honoree. The Diamond Honoree Program, established in 1999, is a way for those that care about students – and the research, scholarship, and programs that promote student development and success – to help advance our association’s efforts. Diamond Honorees are “Championed” by dedicated individuals who recognize their specific contributions and choose to raise funds in honor of each Diamond Honoree’s outstanding and sustained commitment to higher education through student affairs and student development. Those funds are then utilized to help sustain the ACPA Foundation in its support of the research, scholarship, and programs that advance our field as a whole. You can read about Leilani’s work below.

V. Leilani Kupo, Ph.D. (Kanaka Maoli) [she/her/hers] was raised away from her ancestral land of Maui and depended on her ‘ohana [family] to teach her ancestral knowledge from afar. Receiving her B.A. from Ripon College (WI), M.Ed. from James Madison University (VA), and Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University (OH) in Higher Education Administration were points of great celebration for her ‘ohana.  These experiences also helped Leilani understand the ways in which education and schooling both liberated and caused trauma to her, her ‘ohana, and her community.

Leilani currently serves as the Associate Dean of Students for Educational Equity and Access, Learning Support, and Transition Programs/ Director of the Calvin E. Bright Success Center at the University of California, Merced. Leilani has served as a scholar-practitioner in student affairs since 2000.  Throughout her professional practice, she has centered serving students, community needs, and her cultural values in her practice.

Leilani has served ACPA in a number of capacities throughout her career, serving as a CWI Directorate member, CWI Emerging Scholar in Residence, selected as one of ACPA’s 2014 Emerging Scholars, and currently serves on the Governing Board as Member-at-Large Representative for Mid-Level.