UA presidential candidates announced

UA Presidential finalists include Alaska Railroad President/CEO Patrick Gamble, Southern Polytechnic State University (Georgia) President Lisa A. Rossbacher and UAS Chancellor John Pugh.

The Board of Regents has announced finalists for the University of Alaska’s top spot.

Alaskan’s Patrick Gamble (President/CEO of the Alaska Railroad) and John Pugh (UAS Chancellor) were selected as was Southern Polytechnic State University (Georgia) President Lisa A. Rossbacher.

Board of Regents chair Cynthia Henry said in a press release on Feb. 28 that after a challenging search process with many applications from both in and out of state, the board is excited to hear from stakeholders about the candidates before the board makes their final decision.

Current President Mark Hamilton announced his retirement last June after being at the helm of the system since 1998.

The candidates will be visiting UA campuses March 1-3. On March 2 they will be at UAA, meeting with students, faculty, staff and governance groups. The full schedule is available here.

The Regents will discuss the candidates with its statewide advisory council on Thursday. They will then meet again and possibly name the final candidate March 15. A public announcement will follow after that.

This a developing story. Check back at The Northern Light for more coverage.

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Patrick K. Gamble

Patrick K. Gamble is a military-raised family man with more than 17 years of leadership role successes in state and international government positions. Formerly the Commander of Alaskan Command, Director of Air Force Air and Space Operations and Commander of the Pacific Air Forces, Gambel was promoted to the rank of four-star general. Gambel has 17 years of President/CEO level business leadership and management, currently working as the President/CEO of Alaska Railroad Corporation. He has distinguished  where he is vying for the company to be the first in the U.S. to field a fully operational GPS-based Positive Train Control (collision avoidance) system.

Gamble’s education includes a BA in mathematics from Texas A&M University and a MBA in management from Auburn University.

Among numerous honors and awards, Gambel has received two Defense Distinguish Service Medals and two Air Force Distinguished Service Medals

Lisa Rossbacher

The current president of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., Lisa Rossbacher is the first woman geologist to serve as a university president in North America.

As president, Rossbacher has focused on sustainability and has partnered SPSU with the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a National project that addresses the affects of global warming. Under Rossbacher’s presidency, SPSU also broke ground on a new Engineering Technology Center.

Her experience also includes serving as  Executive Vice Chancellor in for the University System of Georgia, Dean of the College at Dickinson College, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Whittier College and professor of Geology at California State Polytechnic University.

As a geologist, Rossbacher has worked as a reporter for NPR and as a writer for Geotimes since 1988. Rossbacher’s various awards and recognitions include Women of the Year Award from the American Association of University Women and a Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Civilian Service from the U.S. Army.

John Pugh

The chancellor of UAS since his appointment by President Mark Hamilton in 1999, John Pugh has a long career in public service for the state of Alaska.

The 1970 graduate of the University of Austin at Texas with a Master’s of Science in Social Work was the commissioner of the Department of Heath and Social Services from 1984-1986. There he was responsible for a budget of $302 million and managed the personnel system that included 1,600 employees.

In 1987 he started his tenure at the University of Alaska Southeast as Dean of Education, Liberal Arts and Sciences and later as Dean of Faculty before accepting the position of Chancellor.

Pugh is a former U.S. Air Force captain and served three years at Elmendorf. His background is in Social Work and Philosophy. He was also an instructor at the former Anchorage Community College from 1971 to 1976.

He is currently involved with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and is a University of Alaska Foundation trustee.