The Honorable Robert Underwood

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The Honorable Robert Underwood


Keynote Speaker speech and interview


The Honorable Robert Underwood is a former Member of the U.S. Congress and is currently the 10th President of the University of Guam. As an educator, he has served as a teacher, school administrator, curriculum writer and administrator at the University of Guam. He is a distinguished scholar with many publications to his credit. He served as the Congressional Delegate from Guam in the 103-107th Congresses (1993-2003) during which he sponsored major legislation for Guam, played an active role in Department of Defense authorization bills and was a forceful advocate for political development for insular areas, the protection of oceans and coral reefs and the extension of educational and social opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

As a senior member of the House Armed Services and Resources Committees, he was the ranking member for several subcommittees and panels. He emphasized the importance of Guam and the Asian Pacific Region in national strategic policy and secured the initial funding for the Guam National Guard Readiness Center. He 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 Health Insurance Program and legislation which created the Department of Homeland Security. 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 (elected attorney general, magistrate bill).

Robert was born in Guam (1948) and educated in Guam and California. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Guam (1965) and received a Bachelors (1969) and Masters Degree (1971) from Cal State University, Los Angeles. He holds a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Southern California. He has five children, two grandchildren and is married to former Guam Senator Nerissa Bretania Underwood, a prominent educator and former Superintendent of the Guam Department of Education.

As a teacher and Professor of Education at the University of Guam, he led the effort to include the Chamorro language and culture in the curriculum of Guam’s schools and enhance multicultural understanding. He was appointed to the National Advisory Council on Bilingual Education during President Carter’s administration. He also served as Chairman of the Chamorro Language Commission for over a decade and is widely acknowledged as a leading authority on cultural, educational and linguistic issues in Guam and Micronesia.

Since becoming President of the University, in 2008, he has helped reposition the University as the “natural choice” for thousands of young people in Guam and the Micronesian Region. He has significantly increased federal funding to the University and led a Good to Great (G2G) Initiative to build a great university for the region. He eagerly embraces the challenge of helping island communities take on issues related to change and building a sustainable future that continues our essence as islanders, protects our islands and oceans and builds strong societies and economies.


The Museum of Underwater Archaeology


The Museum of Underwater Archaeology



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