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The Triton Story

Lacking the college tradition of having an appropriate “nickname,” and faced with the dilemma of sending a basketball team into the Navy League with little more to call them other than “COGS,” a faculty-student committee organized a name selecting election.

This committee eventually chose six names for consideration and ballots were placed in the Student Center.  The popular choice was TRITONS, and from this our own college tradition was born.  

A fine decal showing our little TRITON became a common car window dressing, thanks to the creative talent of co-ed, Bonnie Kinloch.

At last the College of Guam started to look collegiate!

Excerpt from the 1963 Edition of the UOG Coral Yearbook.

 

The Founder of the University

Excerpts from: Recollections of Older Days, MARC, 1992 by Dr. Jose Palomo, Director, Department of Education


Upon my arrival in Guam, my first official act was to pay my respects to its first civilian governor, Mr. Carlton Skinner.  He welcomed me cordially and offered full cooperation in my work as the Director of Education.  My next stop was at the office of the Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Simon Sanchez, a veteran in his profession and the highest ranking Guamanian in the Department of Education at the time.  The final stop was at my office, an ample section of the elephant Quonset in which Mr. Sanchez had his office. 

The Government of Guam placed a jeep at my disposal for official use, a good choice for traveling over the rough roads leading to the towns south of  Hagåtña.  Mr. Sanchez almost always accompanied me on my inspection trips around the island.  I learned much from him about school problems as our jeep careened from one pot hole in the road to the next.  In this way, I learned about the needs of the school system on the island.  The learning process took all the remaining months of 1950.

Two major administrative problems faced me.  One was the presence of over one hundred contract teachers who had been brought to the island from several states at the same salary they had been getting in their home school districts and whose tours of duty were for only two years.  Their presence was welcomed by Navy and Air Force personnel because they wanted their children to be able to educationally fit into any school district to which their parents might be transferred some day.  The Department of Education also had to pay the cost of their round trip transportation.

The other, and correlated, problem was finances.  When I consulted the island’s Treasurer about the proposed budget for 1951, he informed me that the public schools would consume almost half of the island’s anticipated revenues.  Early in 1951, as I became better acquainted with the Department of Education and its problems, a thought began to gestate in my mind about how to maintain current educational levels, but at a more reasonable cost.  Why not train young Guamanians locally so that they could reach teaching standards equal to those in mainland schools?  I kept churning the idea in my head for a few days, and then decided to discuss the prospect with Governor Skinner.

In September of 1951, I was on a Pan American plane en route to San Francisco.  My objective was to call on the Director of Extension Courses at the University of California in Berkeley,.  My brother Ben was at the airport to welcome me.  We drove to his home in Los Altos about thirty-five miles south of San Francisco.  He and his wife insisted that I stay with him, a courtesy I greatly appreciated.
Ben let me drive his car the next day to Berkeley.  The Director of Extension Courses politely told me that his organization was fully engaged in South Korea in connection with our troops who were stationed there after the Korean war.  I was disappointed; I had counted on Berkeley’s cooperation because of our location in the Pacific.

My next stop was New York City, where I called upon the Director of Extension Services at New York University.  He said that they also were fully occupied in educational work at Ramey Air Force Base in Puerto Rico, but their contract would expire in another year.  His organization would consider coming to Guam at that time, he said.  I told him that I would contact him if I could not find another university which was available sooner.
My last stop, and last hope, was Ohio State University in Columbus,  Ohio.  I went straight to the office of the Dean of the College of Education, even though I had not previously made an appointment.  When I arrived at the Dean’s office, his secretary asked me about my mission.  I told her that I was the Director of the Department of Education on Guam and that I would like to see the Dean.  I was immediately ushered into the private quarters of Dr. Donald P. Cottrell.

I told Dr. Cottrell that I was planning to start a teacher training school on Guam, which was recently made an unincorporated territory of the United States.  I gave him the reasons for undertaking such a project.  His face lit up as he said, “You have come to the right place at the right time.”  The Dean told me that the Chairman of the Department of School Administration had just retired, having reached the mandatory retirement age of seventy, and would be a likely candidate for the job.  His secretary gave me the professor’s current address and telephone number.  The Dean laughingly told me that the professor was know to all his colleagues as “Hi” Lewis.

With the information given to me by the Dean, I had no trouble making contact with him in his central Florida retreat.  Hi was very enthusiastic about the project.  After a short briefing on the need for a teachers college on Guam, Hi Lewis’ last words were, “When do I start?”  I assured him that he would the key man in organizing a teachers college on Guam and that I would advise him when he should come to the island to start the great adventure.

I spent another day in Columbus conferring with Dean Cottrell regarding a written agreement to ensure the continuity of our common enterprise.  He said that he would draft such a document as an understanding between Ohio State University and the Government of Guam.  With this assurance, I felt that I had accomplished my mission.  I bade goodbye to the Dean and then set out on a plane to San Francisco, happy that my efforts were starting to bear fruit.  

Again, my faithful brother Ben was waiting for me at the airport.  We drove to his home and after a hearty dinner, I went to be satisfied that my mission had been successful.