University News

University Announces New Chief of Staff

Published: June 09, 2021 | Categories: All News

Mr. Curt Hamakawa, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Western New England University appointed Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Photo of Mr. Hamakawa talking with students.

Western New England University President Robert E. Johnson has appointed Mr. Curt Hamakawa as his Chief of Staff and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Mr. Hamakawa, who begins his new position August 2, has served over the past year as WNE's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and also as director of the Center for International Sport Business (CISB). He is a tenured professor of Sport Management in the College of Business, and previously served as director of the Business Study Abroad Program and director of the Business Honors Program, among other roles since his 2006 arrival at WNE as assistant professor of Sport Management. In his third year of teaching, Mr. Hamakawa received the University's Teaching Excellence Award.

"Curt brings a track record of exemplary and effective higher education management and teaching experience to this critical leadership post," President Johnson said. "His experience as a senior administrator and committed educator paired with his varied and international experience will be highly valuable as we transform Western New England University into a new traditional university, meeting the needs of 21st century learners preparing to make their mark on the world."

"I am honored and grateful to President Johnson for his trust and confidence in appointing me chief of staff, and I look forward with gusto to helping advance a shared ambition for Western New England University's second century." Mr. Hamakawa said. "I am inspired by our students, faculty, and staff; our rich history; and the strong leadership willing to embrace a future-focused approach to education."

A staunch advocate for international and intercultural education, Mr. Hamakawa has facilitated study abroad opportunities for student groups in the U.K., France, and Australia. As CISB director, he led six university delegations to the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cups, giving students unprecedented exposure and access to global sport leaders and entities in China, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Russia. He also teaches an international sport summer course at IESEG School of Management in Paris.

Prior to joining academia, Mr. Hamakawa's 16-year career at the United States Olympic Committee comprised successive positions as associate general counsel, director of athlete services, and director of international relations. He began his career at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in its compliance and enforcement department.

Mr. Hamakawa earned his B.A. degree in political science from the University of Hawaii, M.Ed. degree in athletics administration from Springfield College, and J.D. degree from the Western New England University School of Law.

His professional and volunteer leadership service currently includes membership on the Commission on International Cooperation for Sport, Culture, Science, and Education, International Union of Lawyers, Moscow, Russian Federation, and former service for the United States Field Hockey Association, Judicial Committee chair; Volleyball Hall of Fame Board of Directors, Executive Committee; Kent State University Read Center for International and Intercultural Education, Professional Advisory Board; City of Colorado Springs, Vice Chair, International Affairs Board; and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, McLendon Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.

He has authored numerous refereed and peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and has presented papers at international conferences in the U.S., Canada, China, Denmark, England, and Japan. His professional memberships and licensures include: Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Bar of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, Bar of the State of Hawaii, and NAFSA (International Educators Association).

A resident of Wilbraham, MA Mr. Hamakawa enjoys jogging and has completed 18 marathons in Honolulu, Chicago, New York, Boston, Washington D.C., and Athens, Greece.