News Briefs

Vice chancellor follows Maimon to Illinois

Executive vice chancellor for administrative services Gebeyehu Ejigu announced April 6 that he will be leaving his position at UAA to become the next executive vice president of administration and finance at Governors State University in University Park, Illinois, this June.

His decision comes only two months after UAA Chancellor Elaine Maimon announced she would be leaving in June to become the next president of that same university. It is not the first time Ejigu has followed Maimon: Before they came here, both worked for Arizona State University.

Interim chancellor Fran Ulmer said she will be consulting university officials in the coming weeks to determine the process by which a replacement will be named.

Auto/diesel student dies in car accident

UAA student Ilia Ipatov died Thursday, April 4, in a vehicle accident between an SUV and Ipatov’s Honda sedan. The SUV lost control on ice, crossed the median and rode over the top of Ipatov’s vehicle. He was taken to the hospital and died shortly after his arrival. He was 19 years old, enrolled in UAA’s Auto/Diesel Technology Program. He was the younger of the two Russian students enrolled in the program. Instructor Ed Pearce was Ipatov’s last instructor for the engine performance class before he would have graduated this fall.

“He was a very nice young man; I really liked him a lot. He wasn’t a bad student and missed very few classes. He was a typical 19-year-old, looking for his place in the world,” Pearce said.

Ipatov was working for Sears and had recently considered joining the Coast Guard after graduation.

Roberson wins USUAA presidency by 6 votes

Student government president-elect John Roberson III won his first term in last month’s election by a margin of six votes, according to official election results released last week. Of the 815 ballots cast – representing a 5 percent turnout – Roberson received 294 while top contender Karl Wing received 288.

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Although the election board received four challenges to the election because of allegations of poll-worker and candidate misconduct, it ruled last week that such reports did not warrant a new election.

All senatorial candidates, facing no opposition, won a seat on the body, as did a Concert Board representative. A referendum extending voting rights on the assembly to the Graduate Student Association passed by a four-to-one margin.

Polar research receives additional grants

John Kruse, Professor Emeritus of ISER; and Dr. Lawrence Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire have been awarded a continuation grant as part of the International Polar Year research. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the grant totaled $468,404 and is the third year of a four-year grant. The funding will be used toward the Study of Environmental Arctic Change plans applied during IPY research. Kruse and Hamilton’s goal is to understand how socio-economic systems respond to environmental change, and how government policies affect Arctic residents. They have established an advisory group of local organizations in order to involve them in the study of existing information and identification of data.

Purcell loses final appeal to earning degree

Michael Purcell has given up his bid to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work from UAA after his record of murder denied him enrollment in UAA’s social work degree program. Purcell had lost his fight in the Anchorage Superior Court to allow him into the program, and agreed not to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court. In return for Purcell’s agreement to not reapply to the program, the university will not charge Purcell with $3,500 in legal fees assessed against him by the Superior Court Judge. The judge upheld the university’s decision to deny Purcell’s application, saying that a degree in social work isn’t the type of rehabilitation program envisioned by the Alaska Constitution. Purcell had been arguing to the court that he had become a rehabilitated man after serving 20 years in prison. In 1984 at the age of 16, Purcell shot and killed an Anchorage convenience store clerk during a robbery. Purcell earned his high school equivalency program and college credits while in prison, but his application for enrolling in the social work degree program had been rejected twice. Purcell currently works as a manager of a pizza place and still plans to apply to schools out of state.

Doctor shortage still doesn’t make the cut

Gov. Sarah Palin has signed into law a provision that expands the number of Alaska medical students covered by state funding. The new law doubles the number of participants in the scholarship program from 10 to 20 students. The WWAMI scholarship program allows students from across the region to pay in-state tuition at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Alaska students complete their first year at UAA and are required to return to the state to practice once they complete their course work at UAW. Alaska has been facing a shortage of physicians, causing the state to rank sixth worst in the nation. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kevin Meyer and supported by Sen. Johnny Ellis.

Hughes family gives $276,000 to scholarships

Anchorage attorney John C. Hughes and chair of the UA Board of Regents Mary K. Hughes have donated $276,000 to funding scholarships for UA students. The proceeds will benefit student scholarships through the Patricia Ann Hughes Eastaugh Memorial Teaching Scholarship, created in 1999 in honor of their late daughter, who was a UA graduate. The scholarship benefits students who are studying to become teachers and provides full funding for a degree-seeking student. The scholarship has produced two Alaska teachers, and the endowment has grown so that it can support four full-time students annually with over $32,000 available for scholarships. John Hughes is one of the three who established the nonprofit UA Foundation, an entity that solicits and manages private funds for the benefit of UA.