By Nicole Fernandez | Staff Writer

Kapiʻolani Community College has hired a new graduation manager, and chances are you’ve probably already seen him around campus. Kelly Ching started on March 7 and has been keeping busy since.

Officially, his title is Student Services Specialist, but it is better known as the Graduation Manager. His position’s main responsibility is verifying that students have reached their degree requirements through one-on-one meetings, working with counselors, and checking the STAR system. Since it is tied to graduating, he also organizes the commencement ceremony for graduates.

Before accepting this position, Ching worked at UH Mānoa in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) as a Grant Management Specialist for six years. He also has a background as an Academic Adviser and Articulation Coordinator. 

“I was ready for a new challenge, personally,” Ching said, “And I have heard that the team here in admissions and records is really good to work with.”

His office is located at Ilima 102A, in the Kekaulike Information & Service Center. Students can contact him directly at the number (808) 734-9532 or at the email

Ching grew up and attended college on Oʻahu, receiving his BA in Zoology and master’s degree in Public Administration at UH Mānoa. Later on, he taught English in Tokyo and then Math and Science at other DOE schools. He was even a zookeeper at the Honolulu Zoo for a brief time. 

Eventually, Ching pursued a career in student affairs because he enjoyed engaging with students during his time as a teacher, and watching them graduate is gratifying for him.

“I wanted to get a little closer to the action with the students,” he said. “I was formerly in a position at West O‘ahu working directly with the students … and I thought this would lead me to more interaction with [them]. I like to help them achieve their educational and life goals. It’s very rewarding … it feels good seeing all of them graduate.”

It was clear that he genuinely enjoyed his job and his status in life. As he walked around campus, Ching smiled and addressed anyone he came across, despite being in a hurry to return to his work. Although he has only barely begun his career here at KCC, Ching has become someone considered warm and approachable.

“Just enjoy your time in school and every day, too,” Ching said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”