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Portrait of President John S.K. Kauwe III

John S.K. Kauwe III

University President

John S.K. Kauwe III is the eleventh president of Brigham Young University–Hawaii. He assumed the presidency in July 2020. He is a professor of Biology at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo where he served previously as the chair of the Biology Department and as Dean of Graduate Studies.

President Kauwe earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology (1999) and a master’s degree in population genetics (2003) at BYU. From 1999-2001, he served as a full-time missionary in the Japan Fukuoka Mission. He received a Ph.D. in evolution, ecology, and population biology in 2007 from Washington University in St. Louis where he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Alzheimer’s disease genetics at the Washington University School of Medicine in 2008.

President Kauwe’s professional focus has been primarily on solving the genetic basis of risk for Alzheimer’s disease. His work, which includes more than 100 peer-reviewed published papers in the past decade, has contributed in unique ways to our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease risk and resilience. He also conducts research on the genetic basis of other human traits and is engaged in ongoing work on genomics and population genetics in Indo-Pacific fish species.

President Kauwe is of Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese, Maori, and Northern European ancestry. He was raised in Orem, Utah, and various parts of Hawaii and is a graduate of Molokai High and Intermediate School (’96). He is the fourth great-grandson of Kaleohano, one of the first converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii.

President Kauwe and his wife Monica are the parents of five children, ages 4 to 15.

President Kauwe

More From This Author

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Good News, Bad News, Who Knows?

May 03, 2022
Devotional by President John S.K. Kauwe III | May 3, 2022

"Our imperfection leaves us subject to the demands of justice. But Jesus Christ, our Savior, suffered all things, to fulfill our Heavenly Father’s plan, and bring us salvation. "
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Through the Lens of Gratitude

February 22, 2022
Devotional by John S. K. Kauwe III | February 22, 2022

"Resolve to cultivate gratitude in your life, and view, through that powerful lens, the incredible blessings of having made covenants with a loving Heavenly Father, of being here at BYU–Hawaii, and of obtaining the knowledge and experience necessary to be a leader in your family, your community, and in the Kingdom of God."
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In Sincerity and In Truth

December 10, 2021
Commencement talk by John S. K. Kauwe III | December 10, 2021

"Surely you have developed and maintained some good habits along this journey. I hope and expect that these habits include daily prayer and scripture study, church activity and attendance, and many other small and frequent actions that lead you to spiritual and temporal success. These small daily decisions, now habits, have prepared you to move on and be a meaningful contributor to your family, your community, and your chosen profession."
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Together, We Must Continue His Work

October 19, 2021
Inauguration talk by John S. K. Kauwe III | October 19, 2021

"I testify to you that this university is a vital part of God’s work on earth. He has established it through His prophets to educate His children and help them make and keep sacred covenants. Through honoring those covenants, we learn more of our Savior, grow closer to Him, and become more like Him."
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Righteousness Like the Waves of the Sea

September 07, 2021
Devotional by John S. K. Kauwe III | September 7, 2021

"When Isaiah teaches us that obedience will bring us “righteousness like the waves of the sea,” he reminds us that we want our own righteousness, our actions, to be completely dictated by the power of heaven the same way the waves of the sea are dictated. This righteousness, obtained through obedience, will give us access to divine power."
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Serve the Right Way

August 30, 2021
Devotional by John S. K. Kauwe III | August 30, 2021

"As we seek the Lord's will and heed prophetic counsel regarding our assignments and responsibilities, I testify that we will receive bounteous blessings for our students and the university."
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He Will Show You the Path

June 26, 2021
I am so grateful for each of you and the efforts you’ve made to persevere through the challenges of this last year and a half. Not only have you continued to work toward your educational goals, but you have had experiences that prepared you to be strong in the future spiritually, personally, and professionally.
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Your Unique Preparation

April 17, 2021
I urge you never to underestimate or forget the degree of personal growth you have experienced as you have worked through your degree on this campus. As graduates of Brigham Young University–Hawaii, you can feel confident in your capacity to prepare and your ability to face each new opportunity of the future with excitement and enthusiasm.
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Jesus Christ, the Finisher of Our Faith

January 13, 2021
When we put forth our effort, perseverance, and faith, Jesus Christ promises to provide the path and support to overcome all things and complete our progression. He is in a very real way, the finisher of our faith.
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Opportunity in the Unexpected

December 11, 2020
You are leaders with character and integrity. You have developed the spiritual capacity to connect grief to gratitude, thus expanding your perspective of this life. Combined with your secular learning, this makes you uniquely capable of using the guidance of the Holy Ghost to see opportunities to build your future to the benefit of your families, communities, and the kingdom of God.
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