Arthur Keller joined the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1909. When he first came to Hawai‘i, he had a civil engineering degree from Cornell and a law degree from the National University Law School. In 1915, he went on a sabbatical leave and returned with two engineering master’s degrees, one from MIT and one from Harvard. By the time Keller returned from active duty in World War I, the College of Hawai‘i had become the University of Hawai‘i, and Keller was appointed as the first dean of the College of Applied Science, which included engineering, agriculture, home economics, and sugar technology.
Keller’s name is associated with many phases of the young university’s development. He maintained a heavy teaching schedule, helped plan the buildings and grounds of the University, served as an administrator, and was acting university president during World War II days. The city of Honolulu often drew on his expertise in matters relating to city planning, health services, and sewer design. This versatile man played on the 1911 college football team and at the age of 58 took flying lessons.