Friday, May 24, 2013
UAA Campus Celebrates Chancellor Fran Ulmer
Chancellor Fran Ulmer will soon retire from UAA to become chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission.
Thursday afternoon, the University of Alaska Anchorage campus honored outgoing UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer, who is retiring this spring.
A former lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate, Ulmer is set to end yet another phase of her long career of public service. While she is leaving UAA, she’s not retiring from public service altogether.
President Barack Obama has appointed Ulmer as Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and previously served on the president's commission on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
She says her four years as UAA chancellor have been like a shot of adrenaline.
“UAA has been growing dramatically… from the standpoint of enrollment, faculty, programs, buildings. We are on a march toward,” she said. “[UAA] will be building an institution that serves the state for many, many years to come."
As she leaves her UAA post, Ulmer takes pride in the fact that three out of four students are graduating in high-demand job areas such as accounting and dental hygiene and hopes the university will continue to reduce the state’s history of non-resident unemployment.
Ulmer's time in academia came after a failed campaign for governor in 2002, following 18 years in elective office as mayor of Juneau, a state representative and lieutenant governor of Alaska.
In 2004, Ulmer worked as a visiting professor of public policy at UAA and in 2005, became Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research, more commonly known as ISER.
"When I was asked to be the interim chancellor, that was a bit of a surprise. I wasn't quite sure how I would like it, frankly, because I was so happy at ISER,” Ulmer recalled.
She remembers being a little reluctant to take the position, but now calls her four years as UAA chancellor “a tremendous gift.”
"The morale is high, the talented people are here and I would say that the support that we desperately need from the community to be successful has been growing every single year," said Ulmer.
Confident that the institution is better positioned than when she found it, Ulmer relinquishes the chancellor's office to Tom Case on May 1. She is set to spend another month at UAA during the transition.