As the University prepares to say goodbye this spring to many of its own, one goodbye in particular has been a long, slow farewell. Chancellor Fran Ulmer announced she would be leaving the University in January 2010. A new chancellor has been chosen, and Ulmer’s time with UAA is coming to an end.
Ulmer will turn over the reigns to incoming Chancellor Tom Case on Monday, May 2, the day after commencement. In preparation for that, the university has planned a farewell reception for Ulmer, scheduled for Thursday, April 14 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the ConocoPhillips Integrated Science Building. Everyone is invited to attend, and so far 450 people have RSVP’d to do so.
Ulmer’s history at UAA is lengthy. She was appointed to Chancellor in 2007 by then UA President Mark Hamilton. Prior to the appointment, Ulmer was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at UAA. Her contributions to ISER include a presentation on the importance of the seafood industry to Alaska and a presentation on the importance of Arctic scientists, stakeholders and policy makers to work together. These presentations as well as additional research shaped public and environmental policy in the state.
Ulmer is also known for her appointment to the Gulf oil spill Commission by President Barack Obama. Additionally, Ulmer served on the Exxon Valdez oil spill claims settlement committee and also as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska.
As for her time at UAA, Ulmer oversaw the opening of the ConocoPhillips building and also broke ground for the new Health Sciences Building; scheduled to be opened in August later this year. Ulmer also oversaw a 75 percent retention rate for first-time full-time freshmen, as well as over $30 million in large donations to the university from local businesses and citizens.
The event will host several skits, including a performance by a cappella group AK Chill. Attendees will also have the chance to leave video messages that will be given to Ulmer to keep.
Ulmer will stay on as advisor until June 1, and plans to continue her presence around UAA through athletic events, research and even financial donations.