Cornell-educated core faculty was brought in during the early days of the College of Hawai‘i to help build a foundation for the University of Hawai‘i’s future.
One such was Arthur Lynn Andrews; He was born in 1871 in McLean, New York and received a MA and his doctorate from Cornell University.
When he arrived in the islands in 1910, he first joined the College of Agriculture and Mechanic as an English professor. College classes were held in a remodeled residence in the backyard of a high school at Beretania and Victoria; the entire student enrollment was 17.
Andrews was active in all aspects of university life. He did not play football but is said to have introduced the famous Statue of Liberty feint play to island teams.
In 1913, he produced the University’s first play, “The Revolving Wedge,” and engaged students in playwriting. He organized the first campus newspaper and the first annual, sang in the glee club and played third base on the baseball team. (UH)
Andrews became the first Dean of the College of Arts and Science, when the College of Hawai‘i was transformed into the University in 1920.
Debate was once a major part of the university. Andrews founded the debate and forensics program in 1924, modeling it after the world famous Oxford Union.
He then became Dean of Faculties from 1930 until 1936, when he retired. From 1941 to 1943, he was a member of the board of Regents. (NPS)
Construction of the Manoa Campus almost stopped during the great depression in the 1930s. Exceptions were projects for which the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA – under the ‘New Deal’) provided the manpower.
One such project at the University was an Outdoor Theater. The University provided $5,213 (cost of materials) and $50,000 was provided by the FERA.
The Outdoor Theatre was designed by Ralph Fishbourne and Professor Arthur R. Keller served as the consulting engineer. The landscape designer was a noted UH graduate and landscape architect in Hawaiʻi, Richard Tongg.
The structure was designed with a 5,500 person seating capacity with some of the stone material for the seating coming from Fort Ruger.
The approximate size of the space is 200 feet wide by 300 feet long. The curve of the Outdoor Theatre portion has a sweeping 60-foot radius. The Outdoor Theatre seating is partially sunken into the ground, with the stage area set below grade. The 25 foot by 35 foot concrete surface at the center of the raised stage gives way to lawn, used as an extension of the formal stage.
It opened on June 20, 1935. Originally the structure was called Andrews Amphitheatre (named after Andrews,) but President Gregg Sinclair renamed it “Arthur L. Andrews Outdoor Theatre” in an attempt to use the proper descriptive vocabulary, since ‘Amphitheatre’ refers to a structure that wraps all of the way around the stage.
The graduating class of 1935 was the first to hold commencement ceremonies in the Outdoor Theatre. The theatre was dedicated at the Annual Commencement on June 12, 1945, to Dr Andrews who had died a month earlier.
In the 1970s there was discussion of adding a retractable roof in order to guarantee dry events, but these ideas were terminated in favor of keeping the garden design preserved and open to daylighting. Andrews served as a venue for graduation ceremonies, speeches, and concerts.
The University has two programs dedicated to Andrews: Arthur Lynn Andrews Distinguished Visiting Professor of Asian Studies to promote Asian and Pacific studies at UH through the selection of outstanding visiting professors each year and Arthur Lynn Andrews Award for Fiction awarded to the top entry from undergraduate and graduate students – entries not to exceed 10,000 words. (UH)