Ryan Kaopuiki
Ryon Kaopuiki, new vice president of enrollment, has plans to attract new students to campus and improve working relationships at MU. 
Photo Provided by Manchester University

Kaopuiki Announced as VP of Enrollment and Marketing

Carly Greaves

With a strong sense of purpose coupled with a desire to help others, Ryon Kaopuiki is eagerly stepping into his new role as vice president of enrollment and marketing at Manchester University.

Kaopuiki began his career at Manchester on Jan. 7, though he is far from being unacquainted with working in a college setting. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Kaopuiki graduated from Western Oregon University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences. He went on to work at several universities, gaining experience in both smaller liberal arts schools as well as larger institutions. He has since held numerous positions at such schools, including being president of the Indianapolis campus at Harrison College and the vice president of enrollment and marketing at Anderson University. “That diverse background probably gives me a different perspective and allows me to come in and add something different, something new to the conversation and decisions,” Kaopuiki said.

While he has worked at several different universities, Kaopuiki has found that he has a special connection to Manchester’s mission and ideals. He possesses a strong belief in the value of the humanities and higher education, qualities that Manchester strives to exemplify. But perhaps what most attracted him to this new role are the changes that Manchester has recently been implementing in preparation for the future. As a man whose goal in life is to, as he puts it, “serve, equip, and create change in people and organizations that will positively impact the world around [him],” Kaopuiki finds these developments enticing. “It’s an exciting opportunity to be a part of, as somebody who really believes in meaningful change and enjoys working in those types of environments,” he said.

Kaopuiki already has plans to help change Manchester for the better. As the current vice president of enrollment and marketing, it is his job to oversee the admission of new students and to make sure that as many people know about Manchester as possible. In the future, he hopes to bring stability to the enrollment process, and to help the university grow into and develop new programs. For now, however, he wishes to give more students the opportunity to learn what Manchester is all about.

To do this, he intends to increase brand awareness and to improve the working relationships Manchester University has with various businesses and high schools. Most importantly, Kaopuiki plans to attract new students to the campus by emphasizing the fantastic experience they will have. “What makes us unique is how we help students experience the excellence,” he said. “They have that sense of belonging, and students feel like it’s different here.”

When it comes to helping others, Kaopuiki proves to be well experienced. For several years, he has been embarking on missionary trips for Nehemiah Vision Ministries, a non-profit Christian organization whose goal is to offer aid to the people of Haiti through education, economic empowerment, leadership development and health care. He first went to Haiti through what he called a “follow-the-food trip” with Kids Against Hunger, a non-profit organization that focuses on feeding hungry children around the world. Kaopuiki quickly fell in love with the people and culture there, and has since traveled to Haiti multiple times, leading medical teams, helping construct houses and getting involved in projects designed to bring fresh water to the people. He has also ventured to Ghana, in West Africa, in order to advise in the process of starting educational programs for children and nurses, as well as heading a leadership workshop for young prospective pastors. These trips and the experiences that came with them led Kaopuiki to gain a greater perspective and understanding of other people. “You discover just how small the world is,” he explained. “You sit down with somebody who doesn’t speak the same language as you do, but when you begin to communicate, you see how similar they are to you. We all have very similar challenges, very similar problems. They’re just set in different contexts.”

Kaopuiki is now residing on campus in Helman Hall, living side-by-side with the students he serves. He remains connected to his family, which includes his wife Marcy—to whom he’s been married almost 25 years—and his four children: Makela, Caleb, Caeden and Kyron. Kaopuiki also finds time for his favorite hobbies, such as photography, cooking and watching sports—especially games that his children are participating in.

Equipped with a unique perspective and a caring mindset, Ryon Kaopuiki is eager to help guide prospective Manchester students to what they seek, and where they wish to go.