Former director of Student Life, Leadership honored with legislative citation

On Oct. 16, former Director of Student Life and Leadership Annie Route was honored with a legislative citation presented by Alaska State Senator Mia Costello. Route retired last June with almost 31 years at UAA, and the citation honored both her time and her commitment to students.

Annie Route receives a legislative citation presented by Alaska State Senator Mia Costello on Oct. 16. Photo credit: Cheyenne Mathews

“As we all know, a university and the experience that a student has, and many of you are here today, it’s so much more than the academics. And Annie, you really, for over 30 years, have student by student, made students feel welcome here, like it’s their home,” Costello said as she presented the citation. “And you probably have touched as many or more individual lives than you can even imagine.”

Former co-workers and students came to the ceremony to celebrate the citation over cake. At the ceremony, Costello explained that legislative citations have to be reserved and passed by a vote of the Alaska House of Representatives and the Senate.

“Within literally five minutes of this citation being read across on the House floor, my cell phone was imploding, ‘Can I sign on? Can I be on that? Oh my gosh!’ And so Representative Matt Claman and I are the prime sponsors, but I wanted to say to you, Annie, that there were so many of my colleagues that wanted to sign on to this and be right there,” Costello said. “They are all listed because you have been such a huge leader supporting students and you’ve watched many grow and go on to be successful in what they’re pursuing, and the university wouldn’t be the same without you.”

After receiving the citation from Costello, Route encouraged her co-workers to be student oriented.

“The students I’ve met over the years have changed my life and I hope they continue to change yours,” Route said. “I hope that every day you come here, that you imagine who are you going to touch? Who’s going to be the student that you will smile at, who you will stop and say, ‘Can I help you find your way?’…that’s what we can do to make a difference to the one student who’s coming here who may not be sure of their path here.”

One of the students Route helped during her time as director of Student Life and Leadership was current Student Regent, Joey Sweet, who was at the ceremony.

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“There was only one project that I worked with Annie on and that was trying to get all of my application materials submitted in time for Student Regent,” Sweet said. “As per usual with me, I waited until the very last minute and had all these different piles of paperwork that all needed to be put together and mailed to the Governor’s office, and with no advanced notice or anything I just sort of burst into Annie [Route]’s office and was like, ‘I need your help!’ And she immediately dropped everything that she was doing and was super sincere and helpful and instrumental in helping me to get the position that I’m in now.”

In her retirement, Route can still be found at UAA events and even instructing American Sign Language classes. Route summed her continued involvement with UAA in the most accurate way possible by saying, “You can’t get rid of me.”