Internet2 honors Lassner for networking efforts on behalf of Hawaii’s educational community
Internet2 today announced that David Lassner, vice president and chief information officer of the University of Hawaiʻi, has been honored with this year’s Richard Rose Award, an annual award established to recognize extraordinary individual contributions that extend the reach of advanced networking into the K20 community.
Lassner has committed a lifetime of effort to extending the reach of advanced networking to Hawaiʻi’s educational community, blazing the trail to establish state-of-the-art connections throughout the Hawaiian Islands as well as from Hawaiʻi to the rest of the world. He has played multiple influential roles, from the University of Hawaiʻi’s first and only chief information officer, to the chair of Hawaiʻi’s Broadband Task Force, and has championed a wide range of broadly inclusive efforts that deliver the benefits of advanced network services and applications to Hawaiʻi’s statewide education community and beyond.
“David’s remarkable work in Hawaiʻi has been an inspiration for his colleagues. His leadership and inclusion of a diverse educational community in Hawaiʻi, bringing together K12 schools, community colleges, cultural and scientific organizations, with the research community, clearly demonstrates that an R&E network increases in value when it is so broadly inclusive. His efforts both in the Pacific Islands and among Pacific Rim countries’ R&E communities has made Hawaiʻi an essential part of the global R&E fabric,” said Louis Fox, director of the Internet2 K20 initiative.
Lassner was a co-founder of the Hawaiʻi Educational Networking Consortium, which for two decades has brought to one table public higher education, public K12 education and private education in Hawaiʻi. He was principal investigator for the National Science Foundation “Hawaiʻi Education and Research Network” (HERN) award, which explored the use of Internet technologies to reform educational practice at all levels statewide. The HERN project resulted in one of the first educational Ethernet-over-coax deployments in the country, while providing teachers at all levels from all islands with some of their first exposure and training in the use of these technologies for teaching and learning.
Challenged by Hawaiʻi’s geographic isolation, Lassner has formed important alliances with domestic and international partners that currently enable Hawaiʻi’s K20 and research communities to share more than 20 gigabits per second of submarine long-haul capacity. Lassner has worked tirelessly to ensure that global research and education networking reaches not only Hawaiʻi’s most advanced research facilities, including observatories on the summits of Mauna Kea and Haleakala and the Hawaiʻi Institute for Marine Biology, but also every community college and every one of the more than 200 public schools in Hawaiʻi through their participation as Internet2 Sponsored Education Group Participants.
“In addition to David’s capacity to synthesize information and translate it into real life applications that benefit individuals and society, what has always impressed me is his ability to get along with people. David is always willing to listen and problem solve for the benefit of the whole,” said Hae Okimoto, director of academic technologies at the University of Hawaiʻi. “Therefore, I’ve observed others looking to him as a mediator or arbitrator in tough situations. This quality, in addition to his incredible capacity for work, has helped the University of Hawaiʻi and the state participate actively in advanced networking.”
As one of the few university chief information officers with direct responsibility to network the state’s community colleges, Lassner has ensured gigabit speed connections to every community college in Hawaiʻi. Lassner’s current networking proposals would move Hawaiʻi to the forefront by providing direct fiber connections with gigabit connectivity to every public school and every public library in Hawaiʻi, provisioning all of Hawaiʻi’s community colleges and their education centers on all islands with 10Gbps connections, and solidifying support for domestic research connectivity between Hawaiʻi and the U.S. mainland.
“We’re a small state with a unique geography that creates many networking challenges,” Lassner commented, “so it has always seemed natural to try to work together within Hawaiʻi and leverage what goes on beyond our shores. I’ve been truly blessed with wonderful colleagues in Hawaiʻi, around the country and around the world who have shared the vision of seamless educational opportunity for all, empowered by advanced networks.”
Presented by the Internet2 K20 Initiative, in which Richard Rose played an early and influential leadership role, the award focuses on efforts to extend advanced networking and applications from research universities to the broadest education community, including primary and secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, performing arts and cultural centers, America’s “anchor institutions.” Rose was the executive director of the University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications System (UMATS) and USM Office IT, when he passed away in January, 2007.
The award was presented on April 27, 2010, at the Spring 2010 Internet2 Member Meeting held in Arlington, Virginia. For more on the Richard Rose Award, visit www.internet2.edu/rose/