A "passing of the torch" ceremony to officially establish Thomas Krise, who came on board at the college in August, as the 11th president of the University of Guam was held Friday morning at the UOG Calvo Field House. The investiture ceremony was attended by rows of island dignitaries, former and current university regents and many government department heads.
With his wife at his side and with a green, gold and black hood draped across his shoulders, a presidential medallion hung from his neck and the university mace – a wooden staff – placed in his hands, Krise was officially sworn in as the new leader of UOG by Chief Justice Katherine Maraman.
Krise was presented with a resolution by the 34th Guam Legislature and symbolic gifts from the Student Government Association, the Faculty Senate, the Administrative Council, the Staff Council Committee and the University of Guam Alumni Association.
Introduced by former UOG President Robert Underwood as an "experienced academic" and "a great guy," and as the first UOG president to "not be from Guam," Krise was lauded for his many professional achievements and his background living and working in other islands across the globe in the Caribbean. Underwood also noted that Krise is the first president who isn't a "rookie." Krise served at the president of the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, grew up in the Virgin Islands and taught in Jamaica.
"We are investing in you our trust, our confidence, our hopes and our concerns," Underwood said, to his successor. "We are expecting in return the dividend of success and empathy and understanding and recognition of the unique role that this institution plays in the lives of this society."
He isn't the first president "to be like any Tom, Dick or Harry, but he is the first coming of Krise," joked Underwood, to laughter from the audience.
Krise's tone was at once solemn and lighthearted as he addressed and thanked those gathered to accept him into the fold of the university, and into the lives of those who have and will study and work at its seaside campus.
He called the investiture ceremony a "celebration of UOG and all who have brought it to its current state of excellence."
'A welcomed outsider'
"I come to Guam and UOG as a welcomed outsider," he said. His experience, he hoped, would "help UOG continue its upward climb."
"As a career Air Force officer, I hope to be able to foster stronger bonds with Guam and the bases it hosts and on behalf of our many veterans," he said.
Krise spoke about wanting to explore how elements of CHamoru and other island cultures can bring more "responsible stewardship of our islands."
The "welcomed outsider" shared his hopes to attract more students from abroad, and for students from Guam to study and travel to other parts of the world and gain perspective by seeing their island "from the vantage point of others."
He promised to do his best, and to work to increase in professional development and training in the future at the university.
Krise ended his speech and officially began his tenure with the words, "Biba Tritons. Biba UOG."