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UAS Honorary Degree & Meritorious Service Award Nomination Process

The selection committee meets twice per year, once in the fall, typically during Faculty Convocation, and a second time in the spring, usually in April, prior to Commencement.  Recipients are chosen for several years in advance, and nominations received will continue to be considered for upcoming years’ awards unless ruled out by the committee.

Nomination Process for both Honorary Degrees and Meritorious Service Awards:

Please see criteria for each type below.


Nomination letters should include:

                Name of Nominee

                Reasoning and support for why the person should be considered for this honor

                Complete contact information for the Nominator


Send Nomination Letters to:

                UAS Honorary Degree Committee

                Chancellor’s Office

                11066 Auke Lake Way

                Juneau, AK 99801

or by email


Honorary Degree Criteria

The criterion for individuals to receive an honorary degree from the University of Alaska is evidence of a significant and lasting contribution to the university, to the State of Alaska, or to the individual’s discipline or profession.


Nominating Procedure

Nominations for honorary degrees may be made by members of the Board of Regents, campus advisory councils, members of the university community, or citizens of the state.  UAS will acknowledge the receipt of such nominations to the nominator. The nominator may request to appear before the committee to speak to the nomination. 


Campus Procedure

The chancellors of each MAU will establish a faculty committee and a procedure for nominating individuals for honorary degrees that provides for an open process for suggesting prospective nominees, and respect for a prospective nominee’s privacy. Each year the chancellors may forward the nominee’s names and supporting information to the president. No current regent or current university employee may be a prospective nominee.

Meritorious Service Criteria

The criterion for individuals to receive a meritorious service award from an MAU is evidence of significant public, academic, volunteer or philanthropic service to the MAU or one of its community campuses, or to an Alaska community.


Nomination Procedure

Nominations for meritorious service award candidates may be made by members of the Board of Regents, campus advisory councils, members of the university community, or citizens of the state. The MAU will acknowledge the receipt of such nominations to the nominator. The nominator may request to appear before the committee to speak to the nomination.


Campus Procedure

The chancellors of each MAU will establish a meritorious service award committee and a separate procedure for nominating individuals for meritorious service awards that provides for an open process for suggesting prospective nominees and respect for a prospective nominee’s privacy. No current regent may be a prospective nominee. Each year each chancellor may nominate individuals to receive a meritorious service award and forward the names and supporting information to the president.

President and Board of Regents Review and Approval

For both, the UA President reviews and decides whether to forward on to the Board of Regents, who will review the nomination packet at the Fall meeting of the BOR, in order for consideration for awards to be conferred during the current academic year (MS), or upcoming Spring Commencement ceremony (HD).

See full Regents’ Policy & Regulation

Honorary Degree Recipients

YearNameBiographical InformationDegree Awarded
2016Sandro LaneDr. Lane is known throughout Alaska for his diligent efforts to create sustainable and environmentally friendly processes in the fishing industry. He established Taku Fisheries and Smokeries, and is the co-owner of Trident Seafoods Corporation (one of the largest seafood companies in the world) and the Executive Director of Trident’s Nutritional Supplement Division. His years working in the industry led to his invention of proprietary processes used to extract the oil and proteins out of the fish, leaving significantly less waste. His work with Trident Seafoods is expanding these processes throughout the fishing industry in Alaska. He is honored for his lasting contributions to our city, state, and to the essential industry of fishing.D. Laws
2016Edward K. ThomasDr. Thomas, T’sa X’oo, is an accomplished Alaska Native leader who has made significant and enduring contributions to Southeast Alaska, to the entire state of Alaska, and to the nation in the fields of education, tribal government relations, business development, and civic organization. His most enduring commitment was his service as President of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska from 1984 to 2014. He received the lifetime honor of President Emeritus in 2007. As President of Tlingit and Haida Central Council, Dr. Thomas played a foundational role in establishing legally binding government-to-government compacts between Alaska Native tribes and the federal government.D. Laws
2015William "Bill" CorbusCorbus is a retired businessman and philanthropist in Juneau.  He also served as Commissioner of Revenue under Governor Frank Murkowski.D. Laws
2015Teri RofkarRofkar is an internationally and nationally recognized artist based in Sitka. She creates ground-breaking, superlative woven robes and baskets that honor and revitalize age-old Tlingit art forms.D. Fine Arts
2014David HunsakerHunsaker is a writer, novelist, screenwriter, actor, director, playwright, teacher, and musician committed to and involved with Alaska Native people.D. Humane Letters
2014Evon ZerbetzZerbetz is a Ketchikan-based local artist, photographer, and illustrator of children's books.D. Fine Arts
2013Charles M. NorthripNorthrip worked as a public media professional, and served as the Executive Director of the Juneau Economic Development Council.D. Laws
2013James C. BaichtalBaichtal worked as a forest geologist with the Tongass National Forest, and as a field researcher with fossil finds. He has been a popular speaker throughout communities of Southeast Alaska, displaying a remarkable talent for bridging the worlds of academia, government agencies, and the general public.D. Science
2012John Borbridge, Jr.Borbridge was honored for a lifetime of work on Alaska Native issues such as the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 (ANCSA) and his support of subsistence users statewide, as well as his work with the Indian Health Service.D. Laws
2011Stephen M. ReeveReeve has made significant and lasting contributions to the fields of community planning and design, local government policy and management, and tourism development.  His promotion of cultural heritage tourism germane to architecture, urban design, and natural resource development has found expression both locally and statewide, as well as internationally. D. Laws
2011Annie R. CalkinsCalkins' work with literacy provided leadership, inspiration, and motivation through the Alaska State Writing Consortium for many district administrators and teachers to develop authentic and effective writing instruction for Alaska’s students.  More recently, she has had an extensive impact in programs for Alaska Natives, and in Arts in Education programs. D. Education
2010Tom CashenCashen served as Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development from 1995 to 1998. In 2004, the Tom Cashen Electrical Training Facility in Anchorage was named in his honor.D. Laws
YearNameBiographical InformationDegree Awarded
2009Herman Kitka Sr.Tlingit Elder Kitka was a Kaagwaantaan leader and the first president of the Shee Atika corporation board of directors.  A lifelong Sitka resident, Kitka was a leader in the Alaska Native Brotherhood, an activist for Alaska Native land rights, and a scholar of Tlingit culture, language & tradition.D. Humane Letters
2009Christa Bruce KotrcA nationally and internationally recognized educator, Bruce-Kotrc is honored for her exceptional commitment to the development of new teachers in Ketchikan and around the State. She has served UAS as a supervisor in the  Master of Arts in Teaching program, and as a mentor in the Preparing Indigenous Teachers & Administrators for Alaska Schools (PITAAS) program. Through the Alaska Reform in the Classroom through Technology Integration and Collaboration program, she supported many Alaskan teachers in their efforts to become proficient in the use of educational technology.D. Education
2009Laraine DerrFormer Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue and graduate of the UAS MBA program, Ms. Derr has been a strong advocate for UAS and the Juneau community in her roles as adjunct instructor and Dean of the School of Business and Public Administration, and as a volunteer, including service on the UA Foundation Board of Trustees.  She has also chaired numerous fundraising campaigns for UAS including the Noyes Pavilion (the first privately funded building in the University of Alaska system), and the Auke Lake Trail. D. Laws
2009Marlene JohnsonJohnson's accomplishments include a significant and lasting contribution to Alaska Native Tribal corporations at all levels, the University of Alaska, numerous state and federal boards, commissions, agencies and foundations. She has demonstrated successful leadership in local, Southeast, statewide and federal issues.D. Laws
2008Dorik Mechau and Carolyn ServidMechau and Servid were recognized for their substantial accomplishments as Co-Directors of the Island Institute, honored for their work in bringing together faculty and students to celebrate relationships between writing and questions of social and ethical importance through the Sitka Symposium.D. Humane Letters
2008Ray TrollArtist, naturalist, author, and musician, Troll has distinguished himself in the field of fine arts, melding his profession, with collaborative cross-disciplinary scholarship in the sciences. Troll is the recipient of a slew of awards, from the Alaska Governor’s Award for Individual Artist to the Gold Medal for Distinction in Natural History Art.D. Fine Arts
2006R.T. "Skip" WallenInternationally distinguished artist specializing in stone lithographs and sculpture (including the whale sculpture in the courtyard of the Juneau Auke Lake campus), Wallen is also recognized for his important work in wildlife conservation in the State of Alaska and throughout the world.D. Arts
2005Linda RosenthalRosenthal is a violinist and retired professor of music at UAS. Known in Juneau as the founder and artistic director of the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival, she is also a renowned violin soloist performing with chamber and orchestral groups throughout the State of Alaska. She is acclaimed internationally for her extensive commissioned works and tours throughout the US, China, India, Japan, and Europe.D. Humane Letters
2004Dr. Richard NelsonA generous volunteer and scholar, Nelson was recognized for his anthropological work among Native people in Alaska, and as a nationally acclaimed nature writer, focusing on the relationship of people to the natural world.D. Humane Letters
2004Erma LawrenceLawrence was honored for her lifelong contributions to the documenting and recording of Haida literature, language and oral histories. Her scholarship resulted in the archiving of Haida language texts and recordings, as well as writing and editing numerous Haida language books. Her work spanned many decades, validating and celebrating many individuals, ultimately touching people’s lives throughout our region and across the state.D. Humane Letters
2003H.A. "Red" BoucherA former mayor of Fairbanks, legislator and Lt. Governor for the State of Alaska, Boucher was recognized at the state and national levels as one of the pioneers of the information age, and celebrated as an authority on the subject of computer mediated communication.D. Letters
2002Jean RogersJuneau-based educator and author of children's books, Rogers has been awarded national honors from the American Library Association Journal and has been bestowed the Parent's Choice Award. Two of her books have been adapted into musicals, including "King Island Christmas."  In addition to extensive work with libraries and reading, she served the city and the state on the boards of KTOO, the Public Offices Commission, and the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission. D. Humane Letters
2001Nora DauenhauerDauenhauer is internationally recognized for her fieldwork, transcription, translation, and explication of Tlingit oral literature. Named Humanist of the Year by the Alaska Humanities forum in 1980, she also received an Alaska Governor's Award for the Arts in 1989, and was the winner of the Before Columbus Foundation's American Book Award in 1991. She has served on the Alaska Historical Commission and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.D. Humanities

YearNameBiographical InformationDegree Awarded
1999Rie MunozAlaskan artistD. Arts
1996Ellen HayesHope Tlingit Historian; 1st woman member of AK Native BrotherhoodD. Laws
1995Katherine HurleyAsst. to Gov.'s Gruening and Egan; AK State Rep; 1st woman in AK to be nominated for Lt. Gov.D. Laws
1994Phil HoldsworthAK Commissioner of Mines and Natural ResourcesD. Laws
1992Carl W. HeinmillerMagistrate, Alaska Native advocateD. Laws
1991Dale DeArmondDelcined Award - Southeast Alaskan ArtistD. Humane Letters
1991Robert DeArmondDeclined Award - Alaskan Journalist, HistorianD. Letters
1991Delores ChurchillHaida Basket and Blanket WeaverD. Humane Letters
1991Frank SeeHoonah BusinessmanD. Laws
1990Maynard MillerDir., Glaciological and Arctic Services InstituteD. Science
1990Mikhail GorbachevPresident Union of Soviet Socialist Republic; Nobel Peace Prize Winner 1990D. Humanities
YearNameBiographical InformationDegree Awarded
1989James J. KingWaterfowl Propagation and Bird Reh. CenterD. Science
1989Austin HammondLeader Chilkoot people of Haines; founder Cultural CampD. Humanities
1989Cliff TaroBusinessman; promoted Pacific Rim tradeD. Public Service
1988Nathan Paul JacksonChilkoot-Tlingit WoodcarverD. Humanities
1988Burke RileyAdmin to Gov. Gruening; Delegate, Const. ConventionD. Humanities
1987Dove KullSocial Worker; Helped establish Older Alaskans Comm.D. Humanities
1987Bob ArmstrongScientist and OrnithologistD. Science
1987Alexander BrindleFishermans and Businessman, Wards Cove Packing Co.D. Science
1986Dr. Henry AkiyamaCardiologist, established medic program in JuneauD. Humanities
1986Mildred BanfieldLegislator; Board of Regents Member 1976-83D. Public Admin
1985Joseph M. KahklenSoutheast Alaska EducatorD. Humanities
1985Joseph RudeJuneau physicianD. Humanities
1985William OverstreetMayor - Juneau; Far East. Rep. for International TradeD. Public Admin
1984Hugh Joseph WadeFirst Secretary of State - State of AlaskaD. Public Admin
1984Byron I. MallotPresident, Sealaska Corp.D. Humanities
1984Earnest J. HaugenAlaska State Legislator from PetersburgD. Public Admin
1983Jay HammondGovernor, State of AlaskaD. Humanities
1983James NolanSen. and Rep. from Wrangell; BOR member 1967-73D. Humanities
1982Frederick EastaughAttorney; Alaska Territory LegislatorD. Humanities
1982Robert BoocheverChief Justice, Alaska Supreme CourtD. Humanities
1981Lew M. Williams Jr.Journalist; owner Ketchikan Daily News; BOR memberD. Humanities
1981Mildred SparksTlingit artist; Leader of Alaska Native SisterhoodD. Humanities
1980Cyrus E. Peck Sr.Magistrate; member of Alaska Native BrotherhoodD. Humanities
1980Carol Beery DavisPoet LaureateD. Humanities
1980Trevor DavisPhotographerD. Humanities
YearNameBiographical InformationDegree Awarded
1979Alfred WidmarkTlingit leader; Alaska Legislator 1961-62D. Humanities

Meritorious Service Award Recipients

2015Roy McPhersonUAS - Ketchikan
2015Jennifer Gomez-StricklerUAS - Juneau
2014No Recipients
2013Jan StraleyUAS - Sitka
2012No Recipients
2011No Recipients
2010Marguerite AugerUAS - Ketchikan
2010Jamie ParsonsUAS - Juneau
2009No Recipients
2008Katie Hope JensenUAS - Juneau
2008Aaron John ElmoreUAS - Juneau
2007Jack SkayUAS - Ketchikan
2007Dean and Edna WilliamsUAS - Juneau
2006No Recipients
2005Robert C. JanesUAS - Juneau
2004Rosalee T. WalkerUAS - Juneau
2004Phyllis YetkaUAS - Ketchikan
2003No Recipients
2002No Recipients
2001No Recipients
2000Kenneth W. MossUAS - Juneau
1999No Recipients
1998Molly D. SmithUAS - Juneau
1997No Recipients
1996Oral FreemanUAS - Ketchikan
1996J. Ray RoadyUAS - Ketchikan
1995William C. ThomasUAS - Ketchikan
1995Isabella G. BradyUAS - Sitka
1995Erik EckholmUAS - Juneau
1995Agnes BellingerUAS - Juneau
1994Joe & CAtherine AlterUAS - Juneau
1994Gil TruittUAS - Sitka
1993Ted FerryUAS - Ketchikan
1993Dora SweeneyUAS - Juneau
1993Cecelia KunzUAS - Juneau
1992Walter W. ShuhamUAS - Ketchikan
1991No Recipients
1990Lloyd HamesUAS - Sitka
1990Ladd MacaulayUAS - Juneau
1989Margaret BellUAS - Ketchikan
1989Karl WardUAS - Juneau
1988Erma MeadUAS - Ketchikan College

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