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New President Robert Underwood spoke about the future

By William B. Martin Jr

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 25, 2008) - The University of Guam is looking to expand its reach with an eye toward the military buildup.

UOG President Robert Underwood yesterday spoke at the Guam Chamber of Commerce membership meeting at the Marriott Guam Resort and highlighted the future of the university.

Underwood said the university has been exploring several options in how to best take advantage of the population increase that will come along with the military buildup. He said certificate programs in areas such as federal procurement, project management and government accounting are strong options.

He said the challenges of the buildup and the growth associated with it will be met by creatively combining existing programs with new ones to meet anticipated demands in fields such as nursing, teaching, environmental sciences and social work.

Underwood said the true impact of the buildup is unknown.

He said he recently spoke with retired Marine Major General David Bice, executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office.

"He acknowledged that the changes anticipated for the island have no existing model," Underwood said. "No other buildup anywhere in the U.S. has had such a dramatic effect and impact on such a defined population."

Manfried Pieper, general manager of the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa, called for better programs to train future hotel managers and promote the island’s tourism, which Underwood acknowledged was an important goal.

Underwood also said he had been in talks with several Washington, D.C.-based, retired contract officers, asking how willing they would be to offer their expertise in training.

He asked for support in the institution’s "growth initiatives," which represent nearly US$5 million of the US$34.2 million the university last week requested in a legislative budget hearing.

"For three years the university has made do with our existing staffing levels, infrastructure and other resources to handle the increased enrollment," said David O’Brien, vice president of Administration and Finance, earlier this week. "However, we have reached our capacity to handle more students without more resources."

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