> UOG Events home page > UOG News & Announcements home page > Back to Student Spotlights

Distinguished Alumni Awards

University of Guam


2015 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards

The University of Guam Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and UOG Alumni Association are excited to announce the names of the winners of the 2015 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards. The awards were given out on Nov. 14 at the UOG Alumni Reunion at the Lotte Hotel. A total of six awards were given.

The award is given to those who demonstrate a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts or sciences, and/or service to society. They must also exhibit a high degree of character and integrity, civic and University involvement, and whose achievements have local, national or international significance.

The winners are:


University of Guam


Alpha Espina
Teacher, Guam Department of Education
BA Secondary Education, 1988
School of Education





University of Guam


Carmelita Gogue
Vice President and General Manager
Marianas Finance Corporation
BBA 1996 and MBA 1999
School of Business & Public Administration





University of Guam


Brigadier General Roderick Leon Guerrero
Adjutant General
Guam National Guard

BA Political Science, 1989
Military Award





University of Guam


Zennia Pecina
Assistant Administrator of Nursing Services
Guam Memorial Hospital Authority

BSN, 1997
School of Nursing & Health Sciences





University of Guam


William Pesch
Business Owner
Guam Family Law Office
MA Micronesian Studies, 2001
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciecnes


University of Guam


Roy Tsutsui
Senior Political-Military Affairs Policy Advisor and
Coordinating Officer Representative
Joint Region Marianas
BA Biology, 1979
College of Natural & Applied Sciences





The Search for the Recipients of the 2015 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards is on!

The University of Guam Alumni Association in cooperation with the University of Guam Office of Development and Alumni Affairs is excited to announce that nominations for the 2015 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards will be accepted from August 10 to October 16, 2015, no later than 4p.m. A total of (6) awards will be given to deserving individuals. Five awards will be given to one individual from each of the University’s schools and colleges: (1) College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, (1) College of Natural & Applied Sciences, (1) School of Business & Public Administration, (1) School of Education and (1) School of Nursing and Health Sciences. (1) Award will be given to an alumnus/alumna who is currently serving or is retired from military service.


All recipients will be recognized at the UOG Alumni Reunion scheduled for November 14, 2015 at the Lotte Hotel from 6p.m. to 9p.m. They will each receive a plaque, a certificate of recognition from the President of the University of Guam; and will be featured in a news release distributed to all local media. Awardees will be featured on the University’s website and social media channels.


Any individual who has graduated earlier than 2008 is eligible to be nominated. The nominee must consent to being included in the selection process.

Nomination Process:

Nominations may be submitted by any individual, independently or on behalf of a group or institution. Self-nominations will not be accepted. Requirements:

Submit an official Nomination Form highlighting the nominee's achievements, and explaining how the nominee meets the criteria for the Award.

Submit a CV/resume and two letters of support from individuals familiar with the nominee’s work addressing the eligibility criteria (see below).
Supporting documents: depending on the nominee's field of endeavor, such documents could include notices and reviews of the nominee's work, sample publications, samples of media coverage, personal citations and testimonials, etc.

Nominees will be contacted as soon as the Nomination Form is received. If a nominee cannot be contacted and their consent is not given by October 16, 2015, no later than 4p.m., the individual will not be considered for the award.

Upon acceptance of the nomination, nominees may submit specific evidence of their accomplishments in the following areas, limited to five pages.

Judging Criteria:

Professional accomplishment in the field. The nominee has attained a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts (comprising Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Business) or sciences (comprising Science, Engineering and Health Sciences) and/or service to society.

Candidate exhibits a high degree of character and integrity.
Civic and University involvement, awareness and concern.
Nominee's achievements have local, national and/or international significance.

For Military Nominees:
Professional accomplishment in their field. The nominee held critical positions of responsibility and authority (i.e. command and key staff positions).

Nominee attained above normal promotion achievements.
Level of rank achieved or level of elected official capacity.
Awards that have been earned exhibiting exemplary performance.
Significant community service or civic involvements that have been achieved.

Submission of Forms:

All nomination forms, CV/Resume and two letters of support (due October 23, no later than 4 p.m.) may be transmitted through any of the three methods below. Submissions received after the abovementioned deadline will not be considered.

Download the Distinguished Alumni Criteria Form

Download the Distinguished Alumni Nomination Form

Mail to/Hand Delivery: 
University of Guam President’s Office – ATTN: Norman Analista
UOG Station 2nd Floor, Jesus & Eugenia Leon Guerrero Building
Mangilao, Guam 96923

(Email) uogalumniassociation@gmail.com

For more information, please contact Norman Analista, Director, Development & Alumni Affairs at 797-3333 or email nanalista@uguam.uog.edu.


2014 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards

The University of Guam Office of Development and Alumni Affairs together with the UOG Alumni Association are proud to announce the names of the winners of the 2014 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards!

In September, a call for nominations was made through the media, government agencies and the private sector. Awards were to be given to one person from each of the schools and colleges that make up the University: School of Nursing and Health Sciences, School of Education, School of Business and Public Administration, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the College of Natural and Applied Sciences. This year, an additional category to honor a successful graduate who has served or is currently serving in the military was included. Requirements for nominees included the submission of a CV and letters of support.

Twenty individuals successfully qualified to be considered nominees.  Judging Criteria for the selection process consisted of the following: 1) Professional accomplishment in their respective field, 2) Does the candidate exhibit a high degree of character and integrity?, 3) Do they demonstrate civic and University involvement, awareness and concern?, and 4)Do the nominees’ achievements have local, national and/or international significance?

Judges included the deans of the schools and colleges, faculty members, representatives of the UOG alumni association, and at-large judges from the island community who are not UOG alumni. President Robert Underwood was forwarded the names of the individuals who were selected by each respective committee, and gave his final approval for the selection of the awardees. The names of the winners were announced on November 15 at the 2014 UOG Alumni Reunion held at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa.

For more information, please contact Norman Analista, Director, Development and Alumni Affairs at 735-2586.


2014 Distinguished Alumni Awardees:

University of Guam
Mr. Bruce Best
MS Biology, 1981
Energy and Remote Island Communication Consultant

“After completing my graduate degree in Marine Biology at the UOG Marine Lab, I began working as a research associate with the PEACESAT/Telecommunication and Distance Education Operation (TADEO) at UOG.  The grant writing skills I  developed at UOG  and my work experience in telecommunication and alternate energy created a unique skill set that set the framework for my many remote islands projects over the next 30 years. 

My military background as a navy corpsman fueled an interest in tele-health operations for the remote islands of the Western Pacific.  Merging the last 35 years of exposure to cultural diversity and work experience allowed me to develop sustainable health and educational solutions for the remote islands in the FSM, RMI and ROP.  Many of the solar powered radios being used throughout the remote islands were installed under my direction and funded by grants through or supported by the UOG PEACESAT/TADEO office where we tried to maintain a high level of service to the region and make a difference in the lives of thousands of Pacific Islanders. 

Today, I remain actively involved with a variety of tele-health groups to improve health care options in the western Pacific.  My UOG education provided me with the credibility and knowledge to continue to service the region through training and implementing sustainable health, energy and remote communication infrastructure throughout Micronesia. I would not have been able to participate in all these projects as a subject matter expert with cultural reference without the education I received at UOG.”


Dr. Tom Brislin
Dr. Thomas J. Brislin
BA English Secondary Education, 1968
Associate Dean, Arts and Humanities, University of Hawaii at Manoa

“The value of my College/University of Guam education crystallized for me when I was confined to a small room for eight hours in 1972 to write my PhD exams. I found in answering the myriad questions from learned scholars in Communication, Sociology, Film, and Psychology, that I was drawing heavily from the knowledge I gained at COG/UOG. From 1964-68, it offered a true Liberal Arts education. It was smaller, and what divisions there might have been between academic areas was porous.

We took courses across the broad spectrum of “ologies.” Students – and Faculty – mixed their interests freely, whether they looked forward to a career in business, law, nursing, education, fine arts or sciences. We absorbed from each other. We left with a tremendous worldview from such a small Island; with a continuing and consuming intellectual curiosity from such a small school with such large ideas. I aced those exams. COG/UOG taught us we could make a difference. And we did.”


Col. (Ret.) John Chiu
Colonel (RET) John M. Chiu
BBA Accounting, 1983
University of Guam, Army ROTC

“Unquestionably, my years at the University of Guam were the formative years of my early adulthood. While I originally intended to go to the mainland to study, imperatives of our family business kept me on Guam. Little did I know that the decision to attend the University of Guam would eventually take my life in a wholly unanticipated direction which would alter the course of the rest of my life.  

Like most college students, I grappled with what I wanted to do in life including career choices and goals. The answer came during one of Dr. Don Soper’s evening marketing classes when the officer in charge of UOG’s ROTC program spoke to us about a career in the Army. The next day I went to see Lieutenant Colonel David Swanson and the first day of the rest of my life as a soldier and officer was set in motion.  

Listening to LTC Swanson speak about an Army career gave me clarity, focus, and direction that I had lacked until that point. With his guidance and mentorship, I excelled in my military science studies, and graduated as the #1 cadet.  My time at the University of Guam directly and indirectly gave me three building blocks for my career and my life.  My ROTC training provided an unshakable foundation in military leadership, discipline, and values. The School of Business provided me with a Bachelor of Arts degree. From my family business, I was able to gain practical experience in leading people, planning and budgeting, and gain an appreciation for the day to day pressures of running a business. The skills, values, and strengths I acquired during my studies at UOG were the foundation to my successes and achievements in the military and throughout my life.”


Dr. Lou Klitzkie
Dr. Lourdes Palomo Klitzkie
BA Elementary Education, 1970
Professor Emeritus, Society of Emeritus Professors and Related Scholars

“The University of Guam has given me the opportunity for a life-long career in special education. Getting a bachelors degree in special education in 1970 at the College of Education equipped me with the knowledge, skills and competencies which enabled me to pursue a masters degree in special education at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque in 1974.

In 1976, Dr. Michael Caldwell, special education chair, offered me a one-year position at the University to supervise student teachers. In 1977, Dr. Caldwell sent me to Utah State University under special education federal grant money to work on my doctorate degree in special education. I returned to the University in 1979 and began my teaching career in special education as an assistant professor which led to the rank of full professor until my retirement in 1998. Not long after that I was admitted to the Society of Emeritus Professors and Retired Scholars. I continue to serve the University in three endeavors: teaching, research, and public service.
I can safely conclude that as a student at UOG, I was educated to foster the growth and development of young children intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically. As a professor, I encouraged young minds to think. As an Emeritus Professor, I will continue to serve the University of Guam - the Natural Choice.”


Michael Pexa
Mr. Michael Pexa 
Master’s Business Administration, 1978
Founder & CEO, Asia Pacific Financial Management Group

“I came to Guam in the early 70s, eager to start teaching for the Guam Public School System. After several years of teaching, my desire to pursue a career in investments led me back to Seattle, where I worked as a financial advisor for a Seattle based firm. My love for Guam inspired me to convince my branch manager to open a Guam branch. To my surprise and joy, he agreed and 30 years later, I’m still here.

As a financial advisor and business owner, I believe that I needed to improve my business skills. I decided to go back to school to pursue my Masters in Business Administration. The obvious choice was the University of Guam, and I graduated in 1978. My education from UOG pushed my business knowledge to the next level and gave me the opportunity to expand my network with fellow alumni. Today, the Triton tradition continues to flourish at Asia Pacific Financial. Several of our employees are UOG alumni. We also take great pride in our annual internship program where we’ve partnered with UOG’s School of Business to provide students internships. As a final testament to our faith in UOG’s talent, we are proud to say that our most recent student intern remained with us after she graduated and has become a full time employee. I’ve come a long way, and I couldn’t have gotten this far without UOG.”


Reina Sanchez
Ms. Reina Sanchez
BSW Social Work, 1990
Social Services Supervisor I, Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center

“The University of Guam has always been a part of my life. My father, Vicente Q. Sanchez, worked at UOG in the eighties and naturally I attended and received my bachelor and master degrees there.  In between the undergraduate and graduate programs I also participated in many professional development courses. So I can say I am a lifelong student of UOG.  It is through UOG that I have met many people – students and professors who have encouraged and supported me.  Without them I don’t think I would be where I am now. Thank you again for this opportunity.”



2013 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards

The University of Guam Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and the University of Guam Alumni Association are excited to announce the winners for the 2013 UOG Distinguished Alumni Awards. A total of five awards were given to individuals deserving of the distinction at the UOG Alumni Reunion held at the Hilton Guam Resort and Spa last night, Nov. 14. The winners are listed below along with their thoughts on how their education at UOG shaped them into who they are today.

Nominees were judged by a committee composed of the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, the respective dean or director of the school or college, a faculty member from the respective school or college, a representative of the UOG Alumni Association and an at-large judge from the community based on the following criteria:
  • Professional accomplishment in the field: has the nominee attained a high level of distinction and achievement through scholarship, research, teaching, creative contributions to the arts (comprising Humanities, Performing and Fine Arts, Social Sciences and Business) or sciences (comprising Science, Engineering and Health Sciences) and/or service to society?
  • Candidate exhibits a high degree of character and integrity.
  • Civic and University involvement, awareness and concern.
  • Do the nominee's achievements have local, national and/or international significance?
 For more information, please contact Norman Analista, Director, Development and Alumni Affairs, University of Guam at 735-2586 or 797-3333.
2013 Distinguished Alumni Awardees:
Annparo Rios
Annparo Rios
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner,
Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center
B.S, Nursing, 2003
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
“My education from the University of Guam has helped to shape me into the person I am today by allowing me to reconnect with my island home after spending my childhood and early adult life away from Guam. I didn’t have a sense of where “home” was. My goal was to pursue a nursing degree and have a career as a nurse. It wasn’t an easy one and would not have been possible without the support of my loved ones and instructors who knew and understood my history and experiences and encouraged me every step of the way to achieve my goal.  My experience at UOG allowed me to accomplish my goals, forge friendships with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and be comfortable calling Guam “home” once again.” 
Darlene Moore
Darlene Moore
Founder & President,
Micronesian Archaeological Research Services
B.A. Anthropology, 1979, MA Behavioral Science, 1984
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
“The education I received at the University of Guam during the years from 1976 to 1983 in pursuit of BA and MA degrees in Anthropology and Behavioral Science with a focus on Archaeology provided the background, training, and experience that were required in order for me to meet the federal qualification standards for directing and participating in Historic Preservation projects.  After graduation, I worked on several UOG archaeological research projects which provided additional training opportunities. Then I formed a sole proprietorship and hired other qualified people as needed to complete Cultural Resource Management projects in the Mariana Islands.  As the number and size of our projects grew, we (two other women with BA degrees and one with a PhD degree in Anthropology) formed Micronesian Archaeological Research Services (MARS), Inc.  Incorporated in 1992, we are still operating, although two of our four original people have since retired. The past 25 years would not have been possible if UOG had not been there to offer the classes and guidance needed to qualify me for work in this fascinating field.”
George Chiu
George Chiu
Executive Vice President,
Tan Holdings Corporation
B.A. Accounting, 1987
School of Business and Public Administration

“I’d experienced stateside campus life, but it was at the University of Guam that my commitment to education was fortified. Professors and facilitators opened opportunities through learning not in just my primary fields of study – but other supportive and relevant areas that provided well-rounded and thoughtful opportunities that contributed to my success. Attending classes with students from the islands who also became leaders and professionals has developed a collegiate fraternity. I often meet individuals who also attended UOG; we share experiences, college courses, personalities and knowledge that contributes to a valuable basis of friendship and spirit of cooperation in mutually rewarding and beneficial collaborations and endeavors.”
Dr. Matilda Rivera
Dr. Matilda Naputi Rivera
Assistant Professor, University of Guam
B.A. Early Childhood Elementary, 1997, M.ED. Language and Literacy 2000
School of Education
“I am proud to be an alumna of the University of Guam.  Without the guidance and inspiration of my brilliant professors at UOG’s School of Education, I would not have made it this far in my career.  Thank you UOG for helping me to grow and gain the wisdom to excel in all that I do.  Like my father always says, “Winning starts in the mind.  Whatever the mind can conceive, it will achieve.“  Let us all think like winners!  BIBA UOG!”
Shiela Concepcion
Shiela Concepcion
Quality Manager, DZSP 21 LLC
B.A. Computer Science, 2002. 
College of Natural and Applied Sciences
“My education at the University of Guam has been instrumental in shaping both my professional and personal life. It helped expand my creativity, enhance my project management skills, build my self-confidence and foster my passion for technology – all of which has transformed my life and propelled my career from being the lead Computer Programmer to the Manager of Quality on the largest Base Operations Support Services Contract in the Department of Defense. The experiences I gained from the University served as the ultimate foundation for my dreams coming true, but this is only the beginning….”

2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards 

University of Guam

Winners of the 2011 UOG Distinguished Alumni Award are pictured with University officials at a gala on Sept. 3, 2011 at the Outrigger Resort. (L to R) Dr. Chris Perez, former Chairman, UOG Board of Regents, Dr. Robert Underwood, President, UOG, Frank Cruz, Distinguished Alumnus – CNAS, Mike Nahalowaa, Distinguished Alumnus – SBPA, Atty. Bob Klitzkie, Distinguished Alumnus – SOE, Laurent Duenas, Distinguished Alumna -  SONHS, Joanne Brown, Distinguished Alumna - CLASS, Dr. Judith Selk, Distinguished Alumna - CLASS, Dr. Nerissa Bretania Underwood, Distinguished Alumna - SOE, Dr. Gregg San Nicolas, Distinguished Alumnus - SOE, Tanya Muna, Distinguished Alumna - SPBA, and Robert Paulino, former President, UOG Alumni Association.