I remember one meeting we had when he announced he was so excited (about what I cannot remember) that he told us “I’m so excited I’m about to pee my pants!” I also dearly remember his campaign to get students to go the their classes in the morning: it was called “Get Off Your Ass and Go to Class.” John would have breakfast in the cafeteria with any students willing to get up on time. Mostly I will miss his devoted advocacy of faculty and his various plans and programs. He has left UAS an entirely different institution from when he arrived in 1987. Katy Spangler, Professor of Education
I’m going to miss John’s laughter. I think all of us will. But mostly I’m going to miss how he would drop in our student programs and events. While I’m sure his primary motivation was to see and meet with students, the impact his presence had on the staff who worked hard to plan and implement the events was immeasurable. Sometimes we didn’t even know how John knew about the events – he would just appear. And the staff would comment later how great it was for the Chancellor stop by. Often times, it’s the little things that mean the most. Lori Klein, Director, Student Resource Center
I will miss Chancellor Pugh’s signature laugh! Eric W. Scott, Director of Campus Life
When I worked for the School of Management in 2013 I truly appreciated his down to earth, “I’m just John” demeanor. That quality, one of many, allowed me to relate to him with candor even when he was the Chancellor. I hope he enjoys retirement and keeps golfing. Cyndi Gleason, Field Auditor, Department of Labor & Workforce Development
His contagious smile and his approach to golf. Bob Love, TVEP Coordinator
UAS Sitka Campus
I will miss Chancellor Pugh’s soft southern drawl and his Christmas cards. All the best in retirement to John and his wife, Karen Ramsey Student Services Tech.
I will miss him and know that I will continue to see him participate in the community. I always appreciated he remembers my name. It makes a huge difference when the campus leader remembers who you are and stops to ask how you’re doing. This speaks volumes! I most appreciate how involved Chancellor Pugh is involved in the Native community. This is something I always express to colleagues in education and refer to Chancellor Pugh’s example. I will miss him at UAS! Especially since my daughter will be a freshman this fall at UAS. Michelle D. Martin, MAT
I’ll miss his generous spirit. I never saw him share a stage with anyone, or shared that stage with him, where he wasn’t delighted to feature or celebrate those next to him. He saw the success of UAS as a collaborative effort, not a one-man show. Rod Landis, Professor of English, Ketchikan Campus
UAS Co-director of Composition & Assessment
Years ago (the summer of 2002) I had the incredible opportunity to be a student employee in the Chancellor’s Office — I learned a lot from the people I worked with — in my opinion, the best of the best worked in that office — Scott Foster, Vicki, Lorraine, and sadly other people whose names I’ve since forgotten. My summer of working in the office led to experiences I might not have had otherwise — a print and television advertising campaign, leadership opportunities, and encouragement that led up to my graduating. Chancellor Pugh was always an encouragement to me, a smiling face who took time to talk to me. As the years have gone by he still remembers me and shows genuine interest in me and my family. Whether it’s on campus or at the grocery store Chancellor Pugh is always a welcome sight. He’s an example to me of what it means to be involved in the community — he is a caring man who I am honored to know. Thank you Chancellor Pugh for all the work you’ve done and for being a positive role model to students and alumni. Jennifer Thorsteinson (Loesch), 2007 Graduate
Foremost I’ll miss his delight in his job, colleagues and students. I’ve always found John very approachable. In both his public presentations and more personal interactions, he has always had an easy conversational style and upbeat tone. He has always appeared to me to be a good listener and to value his employees. I think he has taken great pride in his accomplishments at UAS as well he should. I wish him a well-deserved, contented and healthy retirement. I imagine he will continue to be involved in some aspects of the campus and that his “spirit” will continue to watch over UAS. The campus was lucky to have his guidance these many years. Beatrice Franklin, Egan Library/ILL
A hard act to follow, Chancellor Pugh. You set the standard for what a University Chancellor can do for a community of learners. Denise Caposey, UAS Alumni (Class of 1996)
Bachelor of Education and Early Childhood Major
I know Chancellor Pugh will still be involved with UAS following his retirement, as he will continue to have a place in our lives as we are daily reminded of his legacy. Deborah Rydman, Career Services Advisor
- I will miss his infectious enthusiasm around all things that celebrate our students and graduates – he genuinely embraces any and all opportunities to showcase their accomplishments.
- I will miss the notes (email and paper) that he would send expectantly to acknowledge an employee’s effort or quick action to a particular request.
- I will miss how he would point out aspects of the good work that we do in the presence of others, acknowledging his appreciation and value of us as employees.
- Like everyone, I will miss his smile and warm greetings whenever I would see him around campus.
- And I will thank him every time I look at the new Freshman Residence Hall for his vision and drive to create a place where students can more easily find community and access to the campus during their first year.
What can I not say about Chancellor Pugh, his leadership has been extraordinary, as his love for UAS. I will miss his wonderful smile and his positive and friendly nature. He is always there with a cheerful greeting for everyone he meets; students, faculty, staff, and community members. Always ready with a kind and caring comment, a laugh and a smile bringing a bright spot in our days. When I am out walking at noon, I always enjoy seeing him on his noontime walk around campus. He will be missed in so many ways... Kristi Allen, Administrative Secretary
UAS Egan Library
In early May the Outdoor Studies (ODS) Capstone expedition travels to Denali, Mt. McKinley, for an attempt on the West Buttress. On Tuesday, May 5, a group of 12 led by faculty Wagner and Kevin Krein will travel to Talkeetna and fly on to the Kahlitna glacier weather permitting on May 7. They’ll spend the next three weeks ascending the 20,320 ft. peak. The last ODS Denali climb was in 2009. A UAS blog will update parents and faculty on the group’s progress.
The Outdoor Studies mountaineering class successfully returned from a five day ski expedition on the Juneau Icefield, walking off of the Mendenhall Glacier on Monday, April 27. The group of ten, led by instructor Forest Wagner, and assisted by students Anitra Winkler and Angelo Squires, climbed and skied peaks on the West Branch of the Taku Glacier, landing by fixed wing ski airplane on April 23. The group descended the North Branch of the Mendenhall Glacier, after exploring the Folded and Snow Tower Range, and skiing parts of Snowdrift Peak in the Taku Range.
An on-campus Juneau Community Party for the Chancellor’s Retirement is planned for Saturday, May 30 at 4:30 p.m. An employee gathering for Chancellor Pugh is set for Wednesday, May 13 from 4-6 PM in the Mourant Café at the end of Staff Development Day.
Wednesday, May 13 is Staff Development Day. The event will be streaming live from Juneau to Ketchikan and Sitka starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by the keynote speaker, Libby Roderick, who will do a presentation on morale building. Morning sessions will be one-way from Juneau to Ketchikan and Sitka. Morning activities will be followed by lunch and awards (longevity and Staff Excellence), then by two afternoon videoconference sessions.
A Celebration of Faculty Excellence, sponsored jointly by Faculty Senate and the Provost’s Office, will be held on Monday, May 4, from 3:00-4:30pm in the Glacier View Room on the Juneau Auke Lake Campus. The event will celebrate faculty who were nominated for excellence in the areas of teaching, research, service, adjunct instruction, and advising.
Commencement ceremonies take place Friday May 1-Sunday May 3. This year UAS honors 603 graduates from the Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka campuses with 693 associates, bachelors and masters degrees as well as occupational endorsements, certificates, and licensures. Programs with the most graduates include Business Administration, Elementary Education, Bachelor of Liberal Arts Interdisciplinary Studies and Health Science. Nearly 12% of UAS graduates are Alaska Native/American Indian. The gender breakdown of the graduating class is 63.8% women and 36.2% men
The Sitka Campus will hold its commencement exercises 7 p.m. Friday, May 1 at the Odess Theater in Allen Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. Commencement speaker Teri Rofkar, an internationally known Tlingit artist from Sitka, will be presented with an honorary doctor of fine arts degree. A cultural dance will incorporate a dozen of the Raven’s-tail robes woven by Rofkar. The faculty speaker is Dr. Paul Bahna. Graduating Health Information Management student Rachel Prochnow will offer her reflections. Eighty-five percent of Sitka students study via e-Learning. Approximately three dozen local students are receiving diplomas, certificates, and occupational endorsements.
The 2015 commencement ceremony for University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) Ketchikan students will be held Saturday, May 2 at 3:00 PM at the Ted Ferry Civic Center. Thirty-nine students are receiving degrees. University of Alaska students living in Ketchikan and receiving degrees from other University of Alaska campuses are invited to participate in the local ceremony. This year’s commencement keynote speaker is Doug Ward, Director of Shipyard Development at Vigor Alaska.
The Native & Rural Student Center is hosting the annual Alaska Native Graduation Celebration in the Mourant Café’ Saturday, May 2 at 3 p.m on the Auke Lake campus in Juneau.
The University of Alaska Southeast Juneau campus celebrates the 44th annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m. at the Charles Gamble Jr.-Donald Sperl Joint Use Facility (Rec Center). Juneau philanthropist Bill Corbus will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws. Andre Bunton is the student speaker and will also sing the national anthem. Bunton is the outstanding graduate in mathematics for his exemplary academic record and participation in a summer intensive research experience that resulted in an award-winning presentation at a national mathematics conference. The commencement speaker is Alaska Air Group Chief Executive Officer Brad Tilden, who was named one of the Top 50 People in Business by Fortune in 2014.
The Alaska Native Sisterhood Glacier Valley Camp 70 issued a letter of commendation for the work undertaken by retiring Chancellor John Pugh. The letter expressed “deep appreciation for the tremendous contributions to Alaska Native education” under Pugh’s leadership. The letter singled out three programs: Early Scholars, Tlingit Oratory Contest and Alaska Native Studies. Since 1996, Early Scholars has been fostering academic excellence and cultural identity in college bound high school students through a UAS course for which they earn college credit. Now in its 13th year, students compete for scholarships in the Tlingit Oratory Contest encompassing Oratory, Dramatic Declamation, Storytelling and Native Language. Chancellor Pugh recruited the late renowned scholar Richard Dauenhauer to create an Alaska Native Studies program now led by Assistant Professor X’unei Lance Twitchell. The program recently became an emphasis within the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree.
UAS and Sealaska Heritage Institute are submitting a $2.3M partnership grant proposal to expand Northwest Coast Arts opportunities in Juneau and throughout Southeast Alaska. The proposal to the federal Alaska Native Education Program would expand credit and non-credit opportunities, share resources at the Walter Sobeloff Center and UAS campus, and help UAS fulfill its mission of incorporating the cultures and environment of Southeast Alaska into its curriculum. It includes a partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. UAS Humanities faculty expressed support for the proposal and this exciting new possibility.
Libby Roderick from UAA’s Difficult Dialogues Initiative project will join members of the new UAS Diversity Action Committee and UAS Executive Cabinet members for a meeting on Wednesday, May 6. The Committee and Executive Cabinet members hope to identify issues and strategies that the Committee can address in the 2015-16 academic year.
The recess taken by the Alaska State Legislature during its Special Session means that several aspects of the University of Alaska budget for FY16 remain uncertain. Foremost among those is the question of pay raises for state employees, including raises associated with negotiated labor contracts. Finalization of the FY16 UAS budget will come after this and other uncertainties are resolved. Read more about the UA system-wide budget and the legislative process on the UA State Relations website.