Barack Obama in Hawaii


If you’re interested in Barack Obama’s Hawaii roots, take a look at this story by Honolulu-based AP writer Sudhin Thanawala.

The AP story focuses on Obama’s years at Punahou—the private school founded in 1841 by missionaries.

The AP article makes a great deal about how the school (yearly tuition $16,000) is elitist.  To its credit, it’s also the largest single-campus private school in the United States and one of the best regarded. 

The school has produced business leaders (Steve Case), actors (Kelly Preston), athletes (Michelle Wie), even Polynesian navigators (Nainoa Thompson).  But never before a major presidential candidate.

Hawaii’s senior U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, a Hillary Clinton supporter, tried to make a point of Obama’s Punahou ties right before the Hawaii caucuses.  The “elitist” ploy didn’t work.  Obama outpolled Hillary three-to-one.

Even though he’s now from Illinois, Obama is Hawaii’s favorite son in the race.

Oh, and believe it or not, that’s Obama’s 1979 Punahou graduation picture, above.  A national magazine ran it, identifying it as Obama’s graduation from Harvard Law School.  We doubt anyone ever graduated from Harvard wearing a maile lei and getting his diploma from former Punahou president Rod McPhee.

Categories: Culture, Oʻahu