Pope Lab

WILLIS THOMAS POPE (1873-1961), for whom the environmental laboratory in the Plant Science Complex is named, was an educator in the Hawai'i public school system, and a UH professor of botany and agriculture. Pope was educated at Kansas State College, at the University of California, and at the University of Hawai'i where he received one of the first doctorates of science in 1926. Pope met his wife, Della Blanche Romick when both were with the Hawai'i public school system. They traveled to her home in Kansas for their wedding, and returned to Hawai'i on the ship Manchuria.

The Manchuria struck the reef near Waimanalo and the passengers were taken ashore on lifeboats. Grateful for their rescue and the hospitality of the people of Waimanalo, they established their long-time home on Laumilo Street in Waimanalo. (The wreck of the Manchuria along with other shipwrecks off Waimanalo led to the building of the Makapu'u Lighthouse.)

Pope was with the Normal School when he was asked by the Regents to be the first leader of the College of Hawai'i in 1907. As Acting Dean in 1908, he set the stage for President Gilmore, who was installed as the first president later the same year. He was Superintendent of Public Instruction in the Territory of Hawai'i from 1910 until 1913 and later a UH professor of botany and horticulture. The road on campus between the marine science building and Holmes Hall is also named after Pope. Blanche Pope Elementary School is named in honor of Pope's wife, a pioneer in building the public school system in Hawai'i.

* Kobayashi, Victor N. Building a Rainbow (Hui o Students, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1983)
* Department of Education webpage http://www.k12.hi.us/~pope/History/History_Namesake.htm


Return to Building/Names List
UH Manoa | UH System