A Guam son

Antonio Carbullido Yamashita (1930 – 1992) was the middle child of thirteen born to Felicita and Raymundo Yamashita. He was born 13 September 1930 in his first home village of Piti. He attended Guam public schools and graduated from George Washington High School in 1951.

Dr. Yamashita earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology-Chemistry from Carroll College in Helena, Montana in 1955. He earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Biology in 1962 from the University of Northern Colorado, as well as a Doctor of Education Degree in Science Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1963. He then returned to Guam and contributed to the development of Guam and the region. Additionally, Yamashita served in the US Army and after being honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in 1959, he joined the Army Reserves.

An educational leader

From 1959 – 1969, Yamashita taught students science at the Territorial College of Guam, predecessor of the University of Guam. It was then that Governor Manuel Guerrero called on Yamashita to discuss the dilemma of the fledgling school.

Governor Guerrero challenged Yamashita, then thirty-four-years-old, to provide the leadership to stabilize and grow the education institution. Yamashita served as the institution’s president from 1963 – 1970 and again from 1974 – 1977. His leadership delivered a fully accredited four-year institution in 1963. The college expanded its undergraduate divisions in 1967 with the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Public Administration, the College of Education, and the Graduate School. He then succeeded in attaining formal elevation from College to University with Land Grant status in 1968.

During Yamashita’s second term as its president, the University of Guam was granted the full measure of self governance as an autonomous agency of the government of Guam in 1976, though it wasn’t actually put into full practice until recently.

During his tenure, several programs and buildings which remain today were founded and constructed. These include the Richard F. Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC), the Marine Lab, the Library, the science and health buildings, the College of Agriculture, the Student Center, three dormitories, what eventually became the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency, and the development of the Tritons sports program.

In 1977, he retired as President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus. He subsequently served on the Territorial Commission on Education, as well as on the Diocesan Board of Education.

Civic contributions

In the 1970s Yamashita ran for lieutenant governor along with Manuel Guerrero for governor. They narrowly lost to Ricardo J. Bordallo and Richard F. Taitano.

Yamashita helped the island community in other capacities as well. He was a delegate in the 1977 Guam Constitutional Convention, as well as a delegate to the South Pacific Commission from 1983 – 1986. He served as the Chairman of the Guam Community College Board of Trustees from 1984 – 1988. He was the Executive Director of the Pacific Post-secondary Education Council from 1986 – 1989. From 1990 – 1992, he served as a special consultant to the Guam Legislature. From 1991 to his death, Antonio C. Yamashita served as the Vice Chairman of the Territorial Land Use Commission.

Family man

Yamashita was married to Dr. Lorraine C. Yamashita. When he became president of the College of Guam, Lorraine Yamashita became an active partner in developing the community spirit of the education institution.

Drs. Antonio Yamashita and Lorraine Yamashita have two daughters, Dr. Aline Yamashita and Dr. Velma Yamashita. Both daughters continue to develop the education of the island community – Aline through her work in the public education school system and as a senator in the 31st and 32nd Guam Legislatures; Velma through her work as an instructor for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and as director of the Isla Center for the Arts at the University of Guam.

Antonio Yamashita was most proud at the birth of his grandsons Ryan in 1991 and Eric in 1992. On 1 October 1992 Antonio Yamashita died after a battle with heart disease.

In 1999, the Guam Legislature renamed the Guam Teacher Corps Program, legislation that Yamashita crafted, the Dr. Antonio C. Yamashita Educator Corps. This scholarship entitles University of Guam students who wish to become teachers, counselors, and school leaders to receive tuition and support.

By Aline A. Yamashita, PhD