University mourns loss of long-time administrator Larry Gamboa

University mourns loss of long-time administrator Larry Gamboa

University mourns loss of long-time administrator Larry Gamboa

Larry Gamboa

The University of Guam community bid their final farewells this week to a long-time administrator and Triton alumnus, Larry Gamboa. University employees — including colleagues who have known and worked with him throughout his 20 total years at the University — lined the roadsides as his funeral procession drove through campus on Nov. 30, evincing his widely known Triton spirit by waving UOG pennants.

“UOG really was his middle name,” said Vice President of Administration and Finance Randy Wiegand. “His commitment to the University, his love for the University really warrants that […].”

Gamboa’s path with the University started with his own education in UOG’s Bachelor of Business Administration program. After graduating, he joined the University’s staff in 1991 as an administrative officer, later becoming a program coordinator before earning his MBA from UOG as well. He then worked as an adjunct faculty member, director of Professional & International Programs, chief human resources officer, and director of the EEO/ADA/Title IX Office. 

He was a living example of his passion for higher education, always seeking out the next learning opportunity, advanced degree, or credential and always keeping informed on the latest knowledge in his field and sharing it with his colleagues.  

Over the course of his career, he achieved a second master’s — a Master of Arts in human resource management from Hawaii Pacific University — and the designations of Certified Program Planner, Senior Professional in Human Resources, SHRM Senior Certified Professional, and Accredited Investment Fiduciary. He was in the process of completing his doctorate through the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  

“Larry was so much larger than life — whether he was speaking to you in person or by phone, you could always tell the depth of his knowledge and extent of his ina’dahi spirit […] and he always gave 200%,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Anita Borja Enriquez.

His continued education paired with his institutional knowledge of the University led him to the role of chief human resources officer in 2012, which Robert Underwood, the president of the University when Gamboa became an administrator, said was a dream job for Gamboa.

“There is no one [else] I know who spends so much time studying rules and regulations and making sure they are followed,” Underwood said.

Gamboa's aspirations to teach led him to serving a multifaceted role in the University, Underwood said — “one where he could blend his loyalties to UOG with a desire to teach others to become administrators on their own, serving the public, serving the island where they came from and meeting the needs of the people.”

When his health required a shift of duties from HR chief to leading the EEO/ADA/Title IX Office, he brought no less dedication to growing his expertise in the new subject matter and ensuring compliance throughout the University. 

“Larry’s been really important to […] how we can do a better job of making people feel like they belong,” said UOG President Thomas Krise. 

He led the office in 2020, when news outlets were reporting on racial and social injustices across the nation, and Gamboa helped ensure that UOG would emphasize its values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

During a University-wide memorial service for Gamboa on Dec. 3, his fellow colleagues shared the qualities they most appreciated about him: his outgoing and friendly nature, his smile, his wit, his love of philosophical discussions and the latest news, and his love for UOG.

“[Larry’s wife, Valerie,] said that he loved UOG, and I know that UOG loved him back,” Underwood said. “I know that this institution did richly love him back.”