UA President Hamilton announces retirement

Posted: Sunday, June 07, 2009

FAIRBANKS - University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton will retire after leading the 16-campus system for 11 years.

Hamilton made the announcement Friday at the end of the two-day regents meeting at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Quite simply, I want to spend more time with my family, my lovely wife Patty, who has had to share me with either the U.S. Army or the university system for over 40 years. I want to have time to enjoy our four children and their families, including my ninth grandchild due this fall," Hamilton said in a prepared statement.

"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."

A specific departure date for Hamilton, 64, hasn't been determined yet.

"President Hamilton has been a visionary leader of the university system," Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said in a statement. "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."

Regents chairwoman Cynthia Henry said finding a replacement for the articulate and outspoken advocate for the UA system would be a challenge.

"What a magnificent run this has been," Henry said.

"He was hired at a time of rather low morale due to crumbling facilities and chronic underfunding. He was able to communicate with the public, elected officials and numerous other constituencies just how important the University of Alaska is for a strong state economy, especially the need to 'grow our own' for good jobs and careers right here in Alaska."

The search process has not been determined yet to replace Hamilton.

Hamilton became the university's 12th president when selected for the post in August 1998.

Before that, he served 31 years of active duty in the U.S. Army. Before the major general retired in July 1998, he was in charge of national recruiting.

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