The Guam Daily Post

12 23Sun11292015


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Back Local News Underwood highlights University of Guam milestones

Underwood highlights University of Guam milestones

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THE University of Guam is a testament of continuing success despite a wavering economy and limited budget appropriations from the local government.

UOG is a hot topic these days, not only as they celebrate their 60th anniversary throughout this year, but also because they’ve established a relationship with acclaimed filmmaker and National Geographic explorer-in-residence James Cameron during his recent dive to the Mariana Trench.

UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood was the guest speaker during the Rotary Club of Tumon Bay’s weekly meeting held yesterday at the Marriott Resort. Underwood highlighted some of the exciting news the university has experienced, and noted the reality of its role as an institution of higher education.

“I want to take a note of extreme personal pride in the dive to the Challenger Deep, under the auspices of National Geographic and the sponsorship and leadership of James Cameron,” Underwood began.

UOG is one of the four science partners involved with the Deep Sea Challenge, along with the California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“This is the best news for the university in a long period of time,” Underwood remarked. “I’m so glad that James Cameron made the ‘natural choice,’ because that’s exactly what it is.”


Underwood spoke optimistically about the present and future of the university, noting how they make do despite funding limitations.

In putting things into perspective, Underwood explained how 2002 was a “watershed year” for UOG, when it was the last year the government of Guam appropriated 50 percent of the money UOG spent. Over the years, the appropriation amount decreased. Today, Underwood stated, UOG spends more than $90 million for operations, and roughly 32 percent comes from GovGuam appropriations.

“So the trajectory of government of Guam support continues to decline, and that’s not an unanticipated move,” Underwood said.

“This means UOG is in the throes of reshaping itself. It also means that it must have the flexibility to be able to do things that maybe it didn’t do before and that it must continue to be supported by the general community or it will cease to be the engine that it is.”


The engine, as Underwood put it, pertained to the production of the university’s graduates.

“This is the engine of our professional workforce. But it’s more than that. You have to think of university graduates as something else ... as revenue generators.”

According to Underwood, the average college graduate spends $13,000 a year in taxes, thus suggesting they’re the ones who fuel the economy.

“If you want more tax revenue, get more college graduates,” he said. “If you want revenue consumers, then don’t have them graduate from college.”

Not only should universities in general be seen as a place to receive education and a professional degree, but it should also be seen as the incubators for future business leaders and future thinkers, Underwood remarked. He also underscored how the university provides an array of resources beyond degree programs.

“I want you to also understand that only 50 percent of the university’s effort is invested into degree programs,” he said. “We have outreach programs, engagement programs, research programs – these are the basis upon which so much of the economy is also based and so much social good is done.”

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