Chancellor Leon Richards
Chancellor Leon Richards exudes enthusiasm about his work, and about the students, faculty and staff who make learning possible at Kapi `olani Community College. With a disarming smile, he will tell you that in his heart he knows KapCC is a great campus, but he wants other people to know and recognize this, too.
With dual bachelor degrees in history and political science (summa cum laude), dual master degrees in political science and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), as well as a doctorate degree in political science (international relations), Chancellor Richards loves to learn new things. This passion for learning is seen in how he conscientiously keeps abreast with changes that affect the programs and curricula at the college. Because students are highly mobile, for example, Richards sees a need to create new learning pathways that will give students greater flexibility in their career choices, or when transferring to another institution. He supports non-credit education because he sees it as a way for the college to serve as a conduit to lifelong learning.
Chancellor Richards practices a simple philosophy in leadership: take care of staff and they in turn will take care of students. By trusting and encouraging his staff to do their best work, he challenges everyone to raise the bar of excellence on teaching and learning. Rather than be in a position of control, Richards prefers to empower others so they can control their own lives. With pride and responsibility, he hopes that everyone at the college will work to perpetuate Queen Kapi `olani ´s motto, “Kulia I Ka Nu `u,” Strive for the Highest.
With regard to students, Chancellor Richards feels that students come to KapCC not just for an education, but also for a holistic appreciation of various life experiences. He feels that KapCC provides the best blend of achievements because the faculty and staff never seem satisfied with sitting on their accolades. He beams and tells you that faculty know best what they want for their students and faculty will work hard to do the right things at the right time and in the right way. Richards understands several languages and cultures and is comfortable conversing with international students. He is a champion for all students and takes pride in being instrumental in seeing students achieve their goals. If the need arises, he is willing to intervene on a student’s behalf because it gives him great pleasure to watch that student eventually march on stage to receive a degree. Richards makes it his personal goal to be accessible to faculty, staff and students.
It is said that over time, people will forget what you say, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you make them feel. Whether he is chatting with students, walking the campus and acknowledging people by name, pulling weeds from the college’s cactus garden, or inquiring about the health of a groundskeeper, Dr. Leon Richards tries to make everyone feel that Kapi`olani Community College is their home, a destination of choice, and a place to learn and grow.