The University of Guam is set to unveil new facilities on campus dedicated to improving the overall quality of life by 2025. 

UOG symbolically put shovels to gravel to celebrate the start of construction of the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, slated to become WERI’s second building, as its current home was built in 1989. 

Ross Miller was WERI’s Interim Director when the project was in its planning stages. Miller shared, “the vision began with WERI’s founders and continues to this day–it is embodied by WERI’s mission statement: trustworthy and timely research, instruction, and advice through scientifically informed development and effective management of the freshwater resources of Guam, CNMI, and the FSM.”  

The triton community is also honoring the construction fruition of the Margaret Perez Hatori-Uchima school of health nursing annex. 

UOG president Dr. Anita Borja Enriquez remembered all those who have passed on and were instrumental in seeing both projects through. 

Among them, the UOG school of Health Nursing Dean Dr. Margaret Hatori-Uchima, who tragically passed away last December. 

“I want to acknowledge Dean Margaret because the annex will be the Margaret Hatori-Uchima school of health annex. So I just want to ask for a moment of silence in her memory,” Dr. Enriquez said. 

Hatori-Uchima left an indelible mark on the UOG community and beyond. The prominent dean and registered nurse dedicated her life’s work to helping others. 

Dr. Enriquez shared more, “The nursing program has, over the past ten years, graduated approximately 289 nursing graduates. And in between all of that, Dean Margaret and the members of her team–we call them “team margaret” from the school of health, pursued many different funding opportunities, and they did this to address those members of our community who were marginalized–such as the seniors, the care-givers-taking care of the elderly at home, the homeless–those who needed help. She was the Mother Theresa here on the island and for the region.” 

Acting Lt.  Governor Therese Terlaje, who attended those caregiver courses, fondly reminiscing Hatori-Uchima’s determination. “I cleared my calendar to make sure I could be here today because this really was her dream; she talked about it a lot,” she said. 

Terlaje added, “It was later when I talked to her about it, and this was during a caregivers course; of course, she made me walk around her building, and particularly, I remember the room with the beds where they were training people and talked about how they need more–but that was already in the works…so she was just reinforcing that it was going to go through no matter what challenges came her way and she did that.”  

Now, after years of roadblocks and obstacles, that dream is coming true for the folks at WERI and the school of Health Nursing. It’s all thanks to the help of so many within the community. 

Executive Director of UOG’s research corporation, Cathleen Moore-Linn, told KUAM the projects will be complete by 2025. She commented, “It’s a moment of joy; It’s been work that started in 2019, and we’re so happy to break ground and get started on construction, so by 2025, you’ll see these new facilities.”