Robert A. Underwood

Last updated
Robert Underwood
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
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.



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

Related Research Articles

Madeleine Bordallo American politician

Madeleine Mary Zeien Bordallo is a Guamanian politician, who served as the Delegate from the United States territory of Guam to the United States House of Representatives.

Felix Perez Camacho American politician and former Governor of Guam

Felix James Pérez Camacho is an American politician and former 7th Governor of Guam from January 6, 2003 to January 3, 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party of Guam.

Joseph Franklin Ada, better known as Joseph F. Ada, is a Guamanian politician as the member of Republican Party of Guam. He elected as the Lieutenant Governor from 1979 to 1983 and the fifth Governor of Guam from 1987 to 1995.

Ricardo Jerome "Ricky" Bordallo was a Guamanian politician, businessman, and member of the Democratic Party of Guam. He served as Governor of Guam from 1975 to 1979 and again from 1983 to 1987.

Carlos Camacho American governor of Guam

Carlos Garcia Camacho was a Guamanian politician and member of the Republican Party. He served as the last appointed Governor of Guam from 1969 to 1971 and the first elected Governor of Guam from 1971 to 1975.

Republican Party of Guam political party in Guam affiliated with the US Republican Party

The Republican Party of Guam, commonly referred to as Guam GOP, is a political party in Guam affiliated with the United States Republican Party.

Carl Tommy Cruz Gutierrez was the 6th Governor of Guam, serving two four-year terms with Lieutenant Governor Madeleine Z. Bordallo from January 2, 1995 to January 6, 2003. Gutierrez previously served a total of nine terms as a Senator in the Guam Legislature and was chosen by his colleagues to serve as Speaker of the 17th and 18th Guam Legislatures, respectively.

Benjamin Joseph "BJ" Franquez Cruz is an American judge and politician from Guam and the current Speaker of the 34th Guam Legislature from January 2, 2017 to September 13, 2018. He is currently the Public Auditor of Guam on September 2018.

General elections were held in Guam on November 7, 2006 in order to elect the Governor, all 15 seats in the Legislature and the federal delegate. There was also a double referendum on legalise slot machines at racing tracks and raising the age at which citizens could purchase and consume alcohol to 21.

2010 Guamanian gubernatorial election gubernatorial election

The Guam gubernatorial election of 2010 was held on November 2, 2010. Republican Governor Felix P. Camacho was term-limited in 2010 and ineligible to run for re-election. In January 2009, the website D.C.'s Political Report predicted that the Republican Party would retain the governorship. Republican Eddie Calvo won the election.

Eddie Baza Calvo American politician, governor of Guam since 2011

Edward Jerome Baza Calvo is an American Guamanian politician, serving as the eighth Governor of the United States territory of Guam, from 2011 to 2018. A member of the Republican Party, Calvo was a five-term Senator within the Legislature of Guam. He became the Governor of Guam, having defeated Democrat Carl Gutierrez in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Calvo chose Senator Ray Tenorio as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Guam.

Ray Tenorio American politician

Raymond Stanley Tenorio is a Guamanian Republican politician and former police officer of the Guam Police Department. Tenorio served as a Senator in the Legislature of Guam from January 2003 until January 2011. He served as the ninth Lieutenant Governor of Guam from 2011 to 2019.

Frank Blas Aguon Jr. is a Guamanian Democratic politician. He has served for seven terms as a Senator in the Legislature of Guam and sought re-election in the 2014 General Election. Senator Aguon won re-election by his 1st place with more votes in 2014 than his 2nd-place run in 2012. Aguon has also run as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Guam in the 2006 and 2010 gubernatorial elections. Aguon was the running mate of former Guam Governor Carl Gutierrez in the 2010 election. Aguon is also running for Governor of Guam with his running mate of former U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco in the 2018 election.

General elections were held in Guam on November 2, 2010. Voters in Guam chose their Governor, their non-voting delegate to the United States House of Representatives, Attorney General, as well as all fifteen members of the territorial legislature.The election coincided with the 2010 United States elections.

Michael San Nicolas Guam politician

Michael Franklin Quitugua "Mike" San Nicolas is a Guamanian politician, currently serving as the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives for Guam's at-large congressional district. A member of the Democratic Party, San Nicolas previously served as a senator in the 34th Guam Legislature. He also served as chairman of the Committee on General Government Operations and Federal, Foreign, & Regional Affairs. San Nicolas defeated eight-term incumbent Madeleine Bordallo in the August Democratic primary, and then won the general election.

General elections were held in Guam on November 4, 2014. Voters elected the Governor, Legislature, and territory's Delegate to the United States House of Representatives. Primary elections were held on 30 August.

Lou Leon Guerrero

Lourdes Aflague "Lou" Leon Guerrero is a Guamanian politician, currently serving as the ninth Governor of Guam, since 2018. Leon Guerrero previously worked as a nurse and served as a senator in the Legislature of Guam from 1995 to 2005. She is the first Pacific Islander woman to serve as a state or territorial governor in the United States.

2018 Guamanian gubernatorial election

The 2018 Guam gubernatorial election took place on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, to elect the Governor of Guam. Incumbent Republican Governor Eddie Baza Calvo was barred from re-election, after his win in 2014, since Guam does not allow governors more than two consecutive terms. The Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Guam are elected on the same ticket. Five candidates officially declared their bids. After the August 25 primaries, the Republican party nominated Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, while the Democratic party nominated former territorial senator Lou Leon Guerrero. Democratic primary second-placer Frank Aguon Jr. initiated a write-in campaign in hopes of becoming Guam's first write-in elected governor.

Josh Tenorio

Joshua F. "Josh" Tenorio is a Guamanian Democrat politician and businessman, the tenth and current Lieutenant Governor of Guam, since 2019.


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

Succeeded by
Madeleine Bordallo
Preceded by
Patsy Mink
Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
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
Succeeded by
Thomas W. Krise