UA President Hamilton to retire

University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton announced his intent to retire today after being at the helm of the system for almost 11 years.

Hamilton cited no specific departure date, hoping to allow the Board of Regents more time to begin the selection process for a new president. Hamilton made the announcement at the close of the two-day Board of Regents meeting held in Fairbanks.

“Quite simply, I want to spend more time with my family,” Hamilton said in press release. “And I want to spend more time in this Alaska that I love so much. Maybe I’ll get in some extra fishing time or an extended moose hunt.”

Gov. Sarah Palin issued a statement after his announcement thanking him for all his years of service.

“President Hamilton has been a visionary leader of the university system,” Palin said. “A great orator with a reliable command of the facts, he was very successful in working with legislators to further the university’s goals. While he will be missed, we wish him all the best in his richly deserved retirement.”

UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer could not be reached for comment.

Board chair Cynthia Henry said in press release that finding a replacement for Hamilton would be challenging. She did not know exactly how the long the process to find a new president would take.

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Hamilton took over as President in August 1998. He had success in doubling the amount of state funds allocated to UAA by $165 million in fiscal year 1998 to $313 in fiscal year 2009. He also oversaw the implementation of the UA Scholars program, a scholarship program that awards yearly scholarships to the top 10 percent of each Alaska graduating high school.