Former director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources joins University of Hawaiʻi
Suzanne Case has been named as the inaugural director of the Office of Land and Ocean Conservation Futures for the University of Hawaiʻi. This role is housed under the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation. Case began her official duties on Sept. 11.
In her new role, Case will be responsible for identifying, developing and coordinating initiatives in research, education, funding, policies and other opportunities, by leveraging all facets of the University of Hawaiʻi research enterprise to improve nature conservation efforts internally and across the state. Conservation and sustainability efforts are a critical component to University of Hawaiʻi’s strategic plan as well as the future of the islands and the world.
“I’m really excited to join the University of Hawaiʻi team for conservation,” Case said. “The university’s education, research and capacity-building conservation work is very broad and deep. The faculty, students and workers are true leaders in so many conservation fields, and I’m proud to be a part of it and to do what I can to support and expand it. We have so much to do for Hawaiʻi, the Pacific and our planet.”
Case comes to the University of Hawaiʻi after serving two terms as chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the State of Hawaiʻi from 2015 to 2022.
In addition to collaborating internally with existing University of Hawaiʻi conservation programs such as the UH Mānoa Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, partnerships such as the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance, and UH-supported programs such as the Army Natural Resources Program Oʻahu and the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, Case will also be working closely with federal, state and county stakeholders.
“We are at a critical juncture with our natural resources, biodiversity and way of life threatened by the effects of climate change, invasive species and unsustainable practices that supplanted Indigenous understanding of how to live in harmony with the environment,” said University of Hawaiʻi President David Lassner. “Suzanne has had an incredible positive impact in her roles with DLNR and The Nature Conservancy, and we look forward to her leadership in helping us fulfill our kuleana to protect the natural environment with our faculty and students across the islands.”
Born in Hilo, Case is a graduate of Punahou School in Honolulu. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in history from Stanford University in 1979 and was awarded her juris doctorate from the University of California Hastings College of Law in 1983.