Robert A. Underwood

Last updated
Robert Underwood
Underwood-GUal.jpg
President of the University of Guam
In office
May 21, 2008 August 5, 2018
Preceded by Harold Allen
Succeeded by Thomas W. Krise
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Guam's at-large district
In office
January 3, 1993 January 3, 2003
Preceded by Ben Blaz
Succeeded by Madeleine Bordallo
Personal details
Born
Robert Anacletus Underwood

(1948-07-13) July 13, 1948 (age 70)
Tamuning, Guam, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Lorraine Aguilar (divorced)
Nerissa Bretania (m. 2009)
Children5 (with Aguilar)
Education California State University, Los Angeles (BA, MA)
University of Southern California (EdD)

Robert Anacletus Underwood (born July 13, 1948) is a Guamanian politician, educator, member of the Democratic Party of Guam, former Delegate from Guam to the United States House of Representatives from 1993 to 2003, and was the president of the University of Guam from 2008 to 2018.

Guam Island territory of the United States of America

Guam is an unincorporated and organized territory of the United States in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. It is the easternmost point and territory of the United States, along with the Northern Mariana Islands. The capital city of Guam is Hagåtña and the most populous city is Dededo. The inhabitants of Guam are called Guamanians, and they are American citizens by birth. Indigenous Guamanians are the Chamorros, who are related to other Austronesian natives of Eastern Indonesia and Philippines and Taiwan.

Democratic Party of Guam

The Democratic Party of Guam is a political party in Guam affiliated with the U.S. Democratic Party. Its origins lie in the Popular Party, which was the only political party on Guam until 1956.

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Underwood was born in Tamuning, Guam. He is the son of John Joseph Underwood (1911–1986) and Esther Flores Taitano (1913–2005). His paternal grandparents were James Holland Underwood and Ana Pangelinan Martinez, from Tamuning, Guam, and also the maternal grandparents were Juan San Nicolas Taitano and Rosario Sablan Flores, who resided in Dededo, Guam. Underwood graduated from Guam's John F. Kennedy High School in 1965, and attended California State University, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. He became a high school teacher on the American mainland, and he then served as an instructor at the University of Guam from 1976 to 1983. Underwood was director of bilingual education assistance for Micronesia until 1988 and Academic Vice President of the University of Guam until 1992.

John F. Kennedy High School (Guam) high school in Guam

John F. Kennedy High School (JFKHS), formerly Tumon Senior-Junior High School, is a public secondary school located in the Tumon area of Tamuning in the United States Territory of Guam. It is a part of the Guam Department of Education.

California State University, Los Angeles university

California State University, Los Angeles is a public comprehensive university in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the 23 universities in the California State University (CSU) system. Cal State LA is located in the eastern region of Los Angeles, California, United States, in the University Hills district, facing the San Gabriel Mountains, at the center of Los Angeles metropolitan area just five miles (8 km) east of Downtown Los Angeles.

University of Southern California private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is an American private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. USC has historically educated a large number of the nation's business leaders and professionals. The university has also used its location in Los Angeles to establish relationships with research and cultural institutions throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim. An engine for economic activity, USC contributes US$8 billion annually to the economy of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and California.

In 2009, he married former Guam Department of Education superintendent Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood during an intimate morning ceremony at the Superior Court of Guam. His wife is a former senator in Guam Legislature.

The Guam Department of Education (GDOE), formerly the Guam Public School System, is a school district that serves the United States territory of Guam. The school district can be thought of as analogous to the school districts of other cities and communities in the United States, but in some manners, it can also be thought of as analogous to the state education agencies of other states.

Nerissa Bretania Underwood is a Democratic Senator in the 33rd Guam Legislature, vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Guam, a former superintendent of the Guam Department of Education, and the wife of former Democratic Guam Congressional Delegate Robert A. Underwood. She is currently serving as the chairperson of the legislature's Committee on Early Learning, Juvenile Justice, Public Education and First Generation Initiatives and as the vice chairperson on the Committee on Higher Education, Culture, Public Libraries, and Women's Affairs.

Guam Delegate (1993–2003)

Underwood (far left) stands by President George W. Bush and other dignitaries for the signing of a bill. Wetlands-conservation-act.jpg
Underwood (far left) stands by President George W. Bush and other dignitaries for the signing of a bill.

Underwood served as the Guam Delegate to the US Congress in the 103rd through 107th Congresses from January 3, 1993 to January 3, 2003 during which he sponsored major legislation for Guam, played an active role in US Department of Defense authorization bills and was an advocate for political development for insular areas and the extension of educational and social opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. During his tenure in congress, he became a senior member of both the House Armed Services and Resources committees. He emphasized the importance of Guam and the Asian Pacific region in national strategic policy and worked to enhance the benefits of military personnel, especially those in guard and reserve units.

He passed major legislation for Guam that resolved long standing land disputes with the federal government, brought recognition to Guam's World War II generation and their case for war claims and enhanced local autonomy. Additionally, he built a successful record of bringing in federal funds for military construction, assistance to the government of Guam due to in-migration from surrounding islands and for several education programs.

Underwood ensured Guam's inclusion in major legislation such as the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that brought domestic telephone rates to Pacific territories, the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the bill that established the Department of Homeland Security. He brought recognition to Guam's unique people by lifting the ban on betel nut (pugua) importation into the US Customs Zone, inclusion in the National World War II Memorial, the creation of Chamorro Standard Time (CST) and participation in national commemorative events.

National World War II Memorial artwork by Friedrich St. Florian

The World War II Memorial is a memorial of national significance dedicated to Americans who served in the armed forces and as civilians during World War II. Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a square and fountain, it sits on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

As a member of the Hispanic and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, he spoke out for the protection of immigrant rights, educational opportunities and sensitivity to language issues. As chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus in the 106th Congress, he led the effort to include Asian Pacific Americans in scholarship programs, was instrumental in the development of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, spoke out against racial profiling and for including Pacific Islanders as a demographic category in federal programs.

Asian Pacific American

Asian-Pacific American (APA) or Asian-Pacific Islander (API) is a term sometimes used in the United States to include both Asian Americans and Pacific Islands Americans.

Underwood-Ada Gubernatorial Ticket (2002)

Underwood declared his candidacy for the 2002 gubernatorial election and was a candidate in the November 2002 General election. His running mate for Lt. Governor was Senator Thomas "Tom" Ada. Underwood was defeated by Felix Perez Camacho in the general election on November 3, 2002.

Underwood-Aguon Gubernatorial Ticket (2006)

Underwood ran again as a Democrat for Governor of Guam in 2006, with running mate Frank Aguon for Lieutenant Governor. The Underwood-Aguon team faced former governor Carl Gutierrez and Senator Benjamin Cruz. He defeated his main Democratic rival, for the Gutierrez-Cruz team in the primary election on September 2, 2006. [1] But on November 7, 2006 he was defeated during the general elections when he re-elected to incumbent Republican Governor Felix Perez Camacho, along with his new running mate Lt. Governor-elect Dr. Michael Cruz for the percentage voters from 50%-48%.

UOG President

In 2008, Underwood was selected to begin a 5-year term as the tenth president of the University of Guam and has continued to hold this position as of 2016. [2] In June 2018, Underwood retired as President of the University of Guam and was succeeded by Thomas W. Krise. [3]

See also

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References

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ben Blaz
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from the Guam

1993–2003
Succeeded by
Madeleine Bordallo
Preceded by
Patsy Mink
Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
1997–2001
Succeeded by
David Wu
Party political offices
Preceded by
Carl Gutierrez
Democratic nominee for Governor of Guam
2002, 2006
Succeeded by
Carl Gutierrez
Academic offices
Preceded by
Harold Allen
President of the University of Guam
2008–2018
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Krise