May 07, 1998

Two candidates for president of the University of Alaska statewide system will tour the state and meet the public later this month.

May 7, 1998  NR 14-1998

Invited to visit UA's campuses by the Board of Regents' presidential search committee were:
U. S. Army Major General Mark R. Hamilton, who has served two tours of duty in Alaska and maintains Alaska residency. Gen. Hamilton, who entered the Army in 1967, is now the commanding general of the U. S. Army Recruiting Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He received his bachelor's degree from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and his master's degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. From 1988 to 1990, Hamilton was an artillery division commander at Fort Richardson, and from 1992-93 he was chief of staff for the Alaska Command at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Dr. David L. Toppen, who has been executive vice president and provost of Lake Superior State University in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, since 1994. He received his bachelor's degree at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1965, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Missouri at Columbia in 1970. From 1990 to 1994, Dr. Toppen was with the Montana University System, and prior to that served in academic positions in California and Massachusetts.

Regents began their extensive search for a new university president in January following the resignation of Dr. Jerome B. Komisar, who has headed the university system for nearly eight years. Dr. Komisar plans to leave the position at the end of June.

The vacancy announcement was advertised nationally and in Alaska, and the regents retained the executive search firm of Heidrick & Struggles to assist with the presidential search. Heidrick & Struggles also subcontracted with an Alaska firm to generate the names of Alaskans interested in the presidency. Betty Hasler, the Heidrick & Struggles executive who worked with the search committee said her firm contacted more than 200 prospective candidates, including about 25 Alaskans, and selected about 15 for further discussions with the regents. Applicants and prospective candidates were reviewed by an evaluation committee consisting of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and three regents who served as liaison between the evaluation committee and the board, which served as the presidential search committee.

Over the last two weeks, members of the evaluation committee and members of the presidential search committee have had videoconference discussions with other prospective candidates, and agreed on extending invitations to Hamilton and Toppen to visit Alaska.

Gen. Hamilton and Dr. Toppen and their spouses will travel to Alaska later this month. They will meet with faculty, staff and students on the university's Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau campuses. The public and the news media will also have a chance to meet the candidates. Arrangements for the visits will be announced when they are completed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Bob Miller, 907-474-7272.
MA 98-14