Regents' Recap

December 2008

Regents Celebrate Statehood History in Fairbanks

The University of Alaska Board of Regents gathered in Fairbanks Dec. 1 and 2, 2008, to address a short list of action items, including schematic approval on the long discussed Arctic Health Laboratory Revitalization project and electrical system upgrades at UAF, formal approval for the UA system’s six-year capital improvement plan, and permission for UAA and UAF to proceed with several grant applications to the Alaska Energy Authority.

Status reports, informational items and routine matters dominated the two-day meeting. However, regents attended two noteworthy events.

Mary Nordale, daughter of Constitutional Convention delegate Katherine Nordale, addresses the gathering at the UA Museum of the North. Photo by Monique Musick, UA Staff Photographer.

KUAC provides sneak peek at Bartlett documentary

Regents and invited guests attended a Monday evening preview of an upcoming documentary on E.L. “Bob” Bartlett called "Mr. Alaska: Bob Bartlett Goes to Washington," produced by KUAC/AlaskaOne. A reception held at the UA Museum of the North drew several dignitaries, including Alaska Constitutional Convention delegates Jack Coghill and Vic Fischer; Katie Hurley, the convention clerk; Mary Nordale, daughter of delegate Katherine Nordale; George Sundborg Jr., son of convention delegate George Sundborg Sr.; and Bartlett's grandson, Allen Riley. Riley is also the son of Burke Riley, who was a Constitutional Convention delegate. 

The festivities were part of the university’s Eight Stars of Gold project, honoring Alaska’s 50th statehood anniversary. The late Bob Bartlett is known as “the architect of Alaska statehood.” He served Alaska for over two decades in Washington, D.C., first as a territorial delegate and, following statehood, as a senator.

KUAC's Claudia Clark introduced several scenes from the documentary, which include interviews with UAF professors Terrence Cole, Claus-M. Naske and others. The documentary is underwritten in part thanks to a generous contribution from New York Life. Linda Hulbert of New York Life attended the reception as well. 

At the invitation-only reception, former state Senator and Lt. Gov. Coghill presented a commemorative 49th star flag to the university, featuring autographs from living Constitutional Convention delegates. The flag was a gift from Coghill’s son, state Rep. John Coghill. The younger Coghill found the flag on eBay. It is signed by four of the original delegates.

Nordale presented university officials with an original Alaska Constitution signed by all 55 convention delegates, one of the few that was signed by Ralph Robertson, who initially withheld his signature but later endorsed it. Nordale said the copy was so precious to her mother that she kept it in a locked safe, along with the pen she used to sign it. They were the only items Mary Nordale later found in the safe, after her mother died. Participating in the convention was "one of the most rewarding experiences of her life," Mary Nordale told the gathering. "She cherished it until the day of her death."

UA President Mark Hamilton announced that Vic Fischer is in the process of writing an autobiography at the request of the university. It will contain much about the Constitutional Convention.

The documentary and associated events are all part of the university's Eight Stars of Gold project. For more information about the project, visit

News-Miner reporter Mary Beth Smetzer attended the Dec. 1 reception, and wrote the following article:

Additional photos from Bartlett event

From left: A close-up of an original Alaska State Constitution; KUAC’s Claudia Clark addressing the crowd; and Regent Cynthia Henry viewing the original signed constitution along with UAF Archivist Ann Foster. Photos by UA staff photographer Monique Musick
Photos by UA staff photographer Monique Musick

Museum lab dedication

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, regents attended an afternoon dedication of the Henry Springer Ornithology Laboratory at the museum. Springer is perhaps best known in Alaska’s engineering and construction circles, having had a long and successful career at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and having served as head of Associated General Contractors.

During the dedication ceremony, both UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers and UA Regent Tim Brady thanked Springer for his contributions.

Springer's passion, however, has been the scientific study of birds. For more than 40 years, Springer has worked with staff from the museum's ornithology department, generously donating his time and expertise as well as specimens to the bird collection.

Museum bird curator Kevin Winker calls Springer "a classic 19th century naturalist" and considers Springer to be an expert on international permitting as well as an extremely talented taxidermist. His specimen donations have broadened both the geographic and taxonomic scope of the museum's collection.

At the dedication ceremony, Springer donated four more specimens, mounted in a display case: a passenger pigeon, extinct since 1914; a Socorro dove, now extinct in the wild, a mourning dove and an eared dove.

"It's almost impossible for a collection like ours to add historically important research material without contributions like Henry's," Winker noted.

The museum's bird collection is a relatively young collection, dating to the 1950s. However, it is one of the fastest-growing bird collections in the world and now ranks in the top 10 for bird tissue collections.

Kevin Winker, UA Museum Bird Curator, in the new Henry Springer laboratory. Photo by UA staff photographer Monique Musick

Resolutions of Appreciation for Hughes, Snowden unanimously passed

Board members unanimously approved resolutions of appreciation for Mary K. Hughes of Anchorage and Mike Snowden of Sitka. Their terms expire on Feb. 1, 2009. Both received standing ovations after their resolutions were read into the record, with many members of the board thanking them for their service and leadership.

Mary Hughes Mike Snowden Hughes served on the board beginning in 2002, appointed by Gov. Tony Knowles. She was reappointed by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2003. Hughes graduated cum laude from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1971 with a Bachelor in Business Administration – Management; continued her postgraduate studies in Labor Economics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1971, and earned her Juris Doctorate at Willamette University College of Law in 1974. In addition, she has served on the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees since 1986 and the UAF Board of Visitors from 1994-2002. Snowden was appointed to the board by Murkowski in 2003. He too is a graduate of UAF, earning his Bachelor in Business Administration – Management in 1969. He continued with a year of postgraduate studies in Economics and Business. Both Hughes and Snowden volunteer and are active in numerous civic causes.

Regents elect new officers for coming year

Cynthia Henry Tim Brady Fuller Cowell Carl Marrs
New officers effective Jan. 1, 2009, are Cynthia Henry, chair; Tim Brady, vice chair; Fuller Cowell, secretary; and Carl Marrs, treasurer. Photos by Nelson Photography