UA Journey

1943-1959 Michael Walsh

Nome

Walsh Hall on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Campus
 
Michael J. Walsh was born in Balinade, County Cork, Ireland In 1882 and he immigrated to the U.S. in 1901 at the age of 17. By 1906 he had found his way to Nome, Alaska to prospect for gold. In 1909 he married Miss W. Louise Forsythe and became noted for having one of the larger families in the city of Nome. The Walshes had four sons and six daughters and were considered important members of the Nome community.
 
According to a history of Nome, "The largest family of children to receive high school diplomas before statehood, were the sons and daughters of Michael J. and Louise Forsythe Walsh. Eight young Walshes finished school between 1930 and 1942. . . . All these families are among the distinguished citizenship of the Nome community, being outstanding in their occupational and civic life.

Walsh served as the city clerk and municipal magistrate of Nome for 13 consecutive years, 1931-1944, and was appointed and served as a member of the first Territorial Board of Education from 1934-1942. He was elected and served two sessions of the Alaska Legislature in the House of Representatives, 1945-1947, and was appointed as a member of the Board of Regents to the University of Alaska in 1943 succeding George Lingo and reappointed for another term, serving until 1959. Boyd Harwood was appointed to take his place on the Board.

Walsh was active in many community affairs as he served as Grand president of the Pioneers of Alaska in 1954 and was selected and served as a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention. The delegates convened for 75 days in the Student Union Building, now Constitution Hall, from November 1955 to February 1956. They drafted a model document that became the legal foundation of statehood when the Alaska Territory became a state in January of 1959. He died in Nome April 1, 1963.


UA Site named after Michael J. Walsh

Walsh Hall

Michael J. Walsh is also mentioned in this article

UA Honorary Degree Recipient 1958

Sources:

A History of the Nome, Alaska Public Schools:1899 to 1958 From the Gold Rush To Statehood. A Thesis by John Poling.

BOR file

Cole, Terrence. The Cornerstone on College Hill. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Pres, 1994. Print. ISBN: 0912006579

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