UAS Chancellor Pugh among president finalists

Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2010

University of Alaska Southeast Chancellor John Pugh is among the candidates vying to serve as president of the University of Alaska.

The university's Board of Regents is scheduled to release a narrowed list of finalists this evening. The finalists for the state's top higher education job will make visits to the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Monday, University of Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday and University of Alaska Southeast on Wednesday.

Pugh has been chancellor of the Juneau-based school since 1999. He also oversees its Sitka and Ketchikan campuses.

Prior to his appointment as chancellor, Pugh served as dean of faculty and dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. He has previously been with the Department of Health and Social Services for 15 years, including three years as its commissioner.

Pugh declined comment to the Empire while heading to the airport Friday.

"The candidates are not authorized to talk to the media; they've been asked by the Board of Regents to keep the process confidential," said Madeleine Lefebvre, assistant to the chancellor.

Pugh received his bachelor's degree in philosophy from Baylor University and his master's in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. He does not have a doctorate, Lefebvre said.

The news of Pugh's selection as a finalist was first reported Thursday by the Alaska Budget Report, which said Pugh confirmed that he was a finalist.

Other finalists, according to the newsletter, are Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, a retired professor with the UAA's Kodiak campus, Sally Johnstone, vice president for academic affairs at Winona State University in Minnesota, former University of Alaska Vice President Jim Johnsen and Alaska Railroad Corp. President and CEO Patrick Gamble.

The Board of Regents interviewed finalists further Saturday and today. UA spokesperson Kate Ripley said the board expects to name three or four finalists to introduce to campuses this evening.

She said she was unable to confirm the Budget Report's reporting, saying the Board of Regents had not provided her with that information.

Lefebvre said University of Alaska staff in Fairbanks were "astounded" that the Budget Report was able to identify so many candidates.

As chancellor of UAS, Pugh received a salary of $212,000 in 2009. President Hamilton was paid $311,00 in 2009, as well as had housing provided by the university. Pugh received a vehicle allowance of $3,321, while Hamilton received a vehicle allowance of $9,606.

The finalists who will be in Juneau on Wednesday will meet with students, staff and faculty at UAS' Auke Lake campus during the day. From 5:30 to 8 p.m., the candidates will meet with the public and legislators at a reception at Centennial Hall.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 586-4816 or

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