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John Shupe held a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kansas State University, a master’s in civil engineering from the University of California, and a doctorate in civil engineering from Purdue. He was stationed in England during World War II and flew missions over Germany as a B-17 navigator. In a flight over Leipzig, he suffered near fatal injuries and for that received a Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. He was associated with Hughes Aircraft and Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, and before his appointment as dean of the UH College of Engineering, he was coordinator of an Agency for International Development unit that sponsored an engineering educational program in Egypt.

As an academic, Shupe had a mission and that was promotion of alternative energy sources. He spoke out often on the danger of Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported oil and was an ardent advocate for Hawai‘i’s rich stores of alternative sources: solar, ocean temperature differentials, wind, waves, geothermal power, and biomass.

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