by Jari Sugano, Mingyi Cho, Koon-Hui Wang, and Darsy Oishi
Dr. Ronald Mau passed away May 23 from a battle with cancer. Ron was born in Makawao, Maui, in 1943. His lifetime dedication to entomology and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources started when he joined the Agricultural Science/Entomology B.S. program in 1966 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He continued his MS and PhD studies in entomology thereafter. Before he received his Ph.D. degree in 1976, he was already working as the State Survey Coordinator/Entomologist at the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture for two years. Soon after getting his PhD from UHM, he was hired as IPM, Tropical Crops and Insects Specialist, stationed at Beaumont Research Center in Hilo; he was transferred to UHM as an Associate Extension Specialist in the Department of Entomology in 1982.
Dr. Mau became a full professor in 1988 and served as Department Chair from 1994-1996. He moved up to become CTAHR Associate Dean of Extension, Specialist in Entomology, in 1999-2001. He continued to serve as CTAHR IPM specialist thereafter and retired in 2009. Even after his retirement, he maintained his dedicated IPM specialist lifestyle, traveling around the world, including Germany, Africa, Korea, China, and Taiwan to spread his knowledge and wisdom on how to manage fruit flies, diamondback moths, etc. safely, effectively, and strategically.
A quote from an Extension entomologist from Taiwan, who is also his former student: “Dr. Mau used simple words for Extension but with mighty impact.” His short visit to Taiwan transformed their grower practices for diamondback moth control to a safer and better method. Dr. Mau’s IPM research and Extension contribution is recognized nationally and internationally, as shown by the stellar list of honors and awards throughout his career, from the CTAHR Excellence in Extension Award to Entomological Society of America’s IPM Team Award to USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for creating Area-Wide Fruit Fly IPM Program, and many more.
To many, he was a great mentor and friend who cared about local farmers and crop industry, and he opened doors for so many junior faculty to succeed. To farmers, he was a superstar, boots-on-the-ground type of entomologist. He leaves behind an amazing legacy at CTAHR and Hawaiʻi’s agriculture industry, pioneering multi-agency collaboration on insecticide resistance management work. Yet, Ron always had a good work-life balance, enjoyed spending time with his family, and lit up when he spoke about his grandchildren. Those who worked with him will always remember his famous word ‘howzit’ that has a ripple effect to spread our kuleana to give back to others.
Ron leaves behind lots of fond memories and legacy among many friends and colleagues throughout the College, the University, and the State of Hawaiʻi, as well as the national and international arenas. He will truly be missed and his contributions to Hawaiʻi agriculture will resonate for many years to come.