Sullivan Center

Sullivan Center

To inspire and support discovery, innovation and leadership

'Iolani School has enhanced its campus with a new facility that opened on Aug. 27.

Named the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership in honor of lead donor Joanna Lau Sullivan and her family, it celebrates and honors the family's commitment to serving the community and promoting education and lifelong learning for Hawai'i's youth.

The Sullivan Center brings a new vision for the future that focuses on 21st century learning skills, with all aspects guided by four principles: innovation, citizenship, communication and discovery.

In the words of Head of School Dr. Timothy R. Cottrell, the mission of the Sullivan Center is "to inspire and support student discovery, innovation and leadership."


Located on the site of the former Upper School library building, the Sullivan Center includes the library, archives, senior bench area, learning areas equipped with advanced technology, student communications center, multi-use floor space, film production studio, conference rooms, offices, laboratory stations, and study areas. A wireless computer environment, laptop carts and sustainable architecture also are part of the facility. The four-story SCIL overlooks Sullivan Courtyard across from the Weinberg Building.

"We will provide a nurturing, safe and stimulating learning environment in which students can express themselves creatively and meaningfully through a wide range of venues and opportunities," said former Headmaster Dr. Val T. Iwashita '67, who provided the groundbreaking vision for the Sullivan Center.

Activities that offer students hands on learning experiences are housed in the SCIL. These include robotics, real world design competitions, film and website production, community service programs, the school newspaper, social entrepreneurship initiatives, service learning opportunities, science fellowships, and more.

“We are extremely grateful to the Sullivan family for sharing our vision for the future of learning at ‘Iolani School,” Iwashita said. “The Sullivan Center builds upon the academic excellence for which 'Iolani is well known and will help to ensure the school will continue to pioneer educational opportunities into the 21st century.”

Joanna and her late husband Maurice J. "Sully" Sullivan together opened Foodland, Hawai'i's first supermarket, in 1948. Sully was one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Hawai'i history as he brought McDonald's to the islands and opened more than 100 retail outlets across the state. The Sullivan family has long supported a wide range of worthwhile projects for Hawai'i's non-profit organizations including Chaminade University, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the University of Hawai'i Cancer Center, Ronald McDonald House and Punahou School.

“My family and I are delighted to be a part of this very important new venture for ‘Iolani School,” Sullivan said. “Two of my grandchildren are graduates of ‘Iolani so I am well aware of the positive impact the school makes on children’s lives. I applaud the school’s efforts to foster creativity, collaboration, and the pursuit of passion in this new facility.”


"I had some great teachers at ‘Iolani. I wasn’t always the best student, but I remember being challenged and inspired. I also remember my fellow students being really smart and awesome. I was also fortunate to have the opportunity to teach at ‘Iolani for three years with Mr. Roberts. He taught me a lot about being an artist and a teacher. He trusted me and gave me the first opportunity to really be a teacher. Without Dave Roberts, I would not be where I am today."