Advisory Board

Advisory Board

The Creating Alaska Project is governed by an honorary Advisory Board composed of key Alaska leaders who have personally contributed to the formation of the state of Alaska. Members of the board include delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955-56, convention staffers and consultants, former governors, public servants, state officials, and Alaska historians.

The Advisory Board meets annually, with the first meeting held in November 2003.  The 2004 meeting was held in Fairbanks in November. The next meeting of the Advisory Board will be in May 2005.

The Creating Alaska project is guided by a Steering Committee composed of historians, University of Alaska faculty and staff, and audio-visual experts. 


Victor Fischer - Delegate, Alaska Constitutional Convention
Victor Fischer was a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention, after which he served in the territorial House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate. He was born in 1924 in Berlin, Germany, of an American father and Russian mother. Fischer has degrees from Wisconsin, MIT, and Harvard. He held several planning positions after coming to Alaska in 1950. He was a University of Alaska faculty member in Fairbanks and Anchorage, primarily associated with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, including ten years as director. His current ISER work covers local self-governance, Alaska Native issues, and Alaska-Russia affairs.

Thomas Stewart - Secretary, Alaska Constitutional Convention
Thomas Stewart served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Territory of Alaska until 1954, when he was elected to the Territorial House of Representatives. While in the House, Stewart played a key role in researching, drafting and gaining passage of the bill authorizing the Constitutional Convention, where he served as Secretary. In 1966, he was appointed to the Juneau Superior Court, where he served until 1981. Since his retirement, he has continued service to the Alaska Court System as a settlement judge and in other capacities.

Doris Ann Bartlett - Librarian, Alaska Constitutional Convention
D.A. Bartlett, the daughter of E.L. "Bob" Bartlett, served as the Librarian of the Alaska Constitutional Convention before becoming an English instructor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Mike Stepovich
Mike Stepovich served three terms in the Territorial Legislature and was the last Territorial Governor of Alaska.

Grace Schaible
Grace Schaible served as Alaska’s Attorney General from 1987-89, a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1985-87, and has continuously served as a Trustee of the University of Alaska Foundation since 1982. A life-long Alaskan, she was educated in the Juneau public schools and received her B.A. in History from the University of Alaska. She completed graduate work at the George Washington University and received her law degree from Yale University.

Brian Rogers
Brian D. Rogers is principal consultant and chief financial officer for Information Insights, a Fairbanks-based management and public policy consulting firm, and currently serves as the Chair of the University of Alaska Board of Regents. He earned his Master's degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He was a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1979 to 1982, where he co-chaired the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Convention. Rogers sponsored the legislation creating the Alaska Statehood Commission and served as a member of that commission from 1981 to 1983.

Walter Parker
Parker moved to Alaska in 1946 following his service in the United States Navy. Parker served as a researcher at the University of Alaska, a member of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough Assembly, and the Commissioner of Highways for the State of Alaska. Parker co-chaired the Joint Federal/State Land Use Planning Commission for Alaska that provided the background to Congress for the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA). Following the Exxon Valdez spill, Parker chaired the Alaska Oil Spill Commission that examined the causes of the disaster. Parker has also served on the Arctic Research Commission and is currently a delegate from the US to the Arctic Council.

Sydney Huntington
Born in 1915, Sidney Huntington grew up in the Koyukuk River country of northern Alaska. Huntington served twenty years on the Alaska Board of Fish and Game and the Alaska Board of Game. Huntington published his autobiography “Shadows on the Koyukuk – An Alaskan Native’s Life Along the River” in 1993. In 1980, Huntington was named the “Founding Father” of the Galena school system. The Alaska Outdoor Council and the Alaska State Legislature have recognized him as “Conservationist of the Year.” In 1989, the University of Alaska Fairbanks awarded Huntington an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service.

Lew Williams, Jr.
Lew Williams, Jr. has been active in the Alaskan newspaper industry since 1946. He has served as the publisher of the Ketchikan Daily News, the Wrangell Sentinel, the Sitka Sentinel and the Petersburg Press. In addition to publishing, he has been active in civic affairs, serving as the mayor of Petersburg, a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents, a member of the Wrangell School Board as well as terms on the Alaska Judicial Council and the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar Association. Lew Williams, Jr. was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska Southeast in 1981.

William Tobin
Tobin began his Alaska journalism career in 1956 as the Associated Press Correspondent in Juneau. Following stints in Maryland and Montana, Tobin returned to Alaska in 1963 to serve as Editor of the Anchorage Daily Times, where Robert Atwood described him as his “right hand man.”

Thomas Morehouse
Thomas Morehouse is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Alaska Anchorage. He was a full-time faculty member at the Institute of Social and Economic Research from 1967 to 1994. During three decades of association with ISER, he has extensively studied Alaska government and public policy, with special focus on Native governance issues. He has written numerous books and articles on Alaska state and local government including co-authoring “Alaska Politics and Government” with Dr. Gerald McBeath.

Claus-M. Naske
Claus-M. Naske, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, graduated from the UA in 1961 with a bachelor's in history and political science. He joined the ranks of the faculty in 1969. He has been the director of the UA Press since 1988 overseeing the production of scholarly work on the North. As professor and director of the UA Press he has encouraged the research and writing of many students and budding authors. He has authored or co-authored a dozen books, including "Alaska: A History of the 49th State," widely considered the standard work on the state. In numerous articles he has recounted the economic and political development in Alaska and the relationship between Alaska and the rest of the U.S. He's considered one of the state's most prominent historians, known nationally and internationally for his keen documentation of Alaska's development from a Russian outpost to a U.S. Territory and ultimately statehood.

George Sundborg, Sr. - Delegate, Alaska Constitutional Convention
Sundborg began his career in journalism in 1938 as the city editor for the Daily Washingtonian. Over the course of his career, Sundborg would write for, edit, publish or own the Daily Alaskan Empire, Juneau Independent and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. In 1955, Sundborg was elected to a Territory-at-Large seat for the Alaska Constitutional Convention. Sundborg served on Ernest Gruening’s staff from 1951-53 while Gruening was Territorial Governor and from 1959-68, when Gruening served in the US Senate. Sundborg is the author of several books, including “Opportunity in Alaska,” “Hail Columbia,” and “Facts About Statehood for Alaska.” The US Department of the Interior presented Sundborg with a Meritorious Service Citation in 1973.

Jack B. Coghill - Delegate, Alaska Constitutional Convention
Jack Coghill served a term in the Territorial House of Representatives and was elected to the Constitutional Convention. Following statehood, he served in the First through Third and the Fourteenth through Sixteenth Legislatures before his election as Lieutenant Governor in 1990. Coghill also served on the Nenana School Board, and was the President of the Alaska School Board Association.

George Rogers - Consultant & Temporary Secretary, Alaska Constitutional Convention
George Rogers received his academic training at the University of California, Berkeley (B.A. 1942, M.A. 1943) and Harvard (M.P.A. 1948, Ph.D. 1950) followed by visiting fellowships at Clare Hall and Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge (1967-68) and the editorial staff of the Sorbonne's center for northern studies (1964-78). He joined the office of Governor B. Frank Heintzleman as an Economist in July of 1953 after working with the Department of the Interior and the Division of Territories. He served as a consultant for the Constitutional Convention, and in the early sixties drafted one of the first comprehensive studies on the economic aspects of statehood with his book "The Future Of Alaska; Economic Consequences Of Statehood." Rogers went on to serve as a faculty member at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1961 to 1983. He has published five books and numerous research monographs and articles and served on seven National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council programs and forty Alaskan, Canadian and national research boards and commissions. The University of Alaska Anchorage awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Economics in 1986.

Katie Hurley - Chief Clerk, Alaska Constitutional Convention
Katie Hurley served as an assistant to Governors Gruening and Egan, and served a term in the State House of Representatives. She served as Chief Clerk to the Constitutional Convention and was secretary of the State Senate. Hurley was the first woman to win a statewide election when she was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1978. She has also served as the Executive Director of the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women, Chair of the Alaska State Commission on Human Rights and the President of the State Board of Education. In 1995, UAS granted Hurley an Honorary Doctorate of Laws in recognition of her service to Alaska.

Neva Egan
Neva Egan served as Alaska’s first lady from 1959-66 and 1970-74. Mrs. Egan worked as a teacher in Wyoming before moving to Valdez to teach. She had plans to stay only a year. One of the first people she met in Valdez was William Egan, who she would marry several years later. Her husband would go on to serve in the Territorial Legislature, preside over the Constitutional Convention and be elected the first Governor of the State of Alaska. Governor Egan holds the distinction of being the only governor to serve three terms. Mrs. Egan is an accomplished pianist, and has performed the Alaska Flag Song across the state. Her plans for a one-year stay have evolved into over sixty years of service and residency in Alaska.

Walter Hickel
Walter J. Hickel served as Governor of Alaska 1966-1969, 1990-1994, and also as U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 1969-1970. Hickel teamed with William Egan in 1979 to form Commonwealth North, a public policy forum. Hickel was a founding member of the Northern Forum, where he continues to serve as Secretary-General. Since WWII, Hickel has been a builder, developer, civic leader, and was deeply involved in Alaska’s statehood fight. In 1954, he was elected Republican National Committeeman and served in that capacity for ten years. He was named Alaskan of the Year in 1969 and received an honorary doctorate from UAA in 1976.

Chancy Croft
Chancy Croft was a member of the Alaska State House of Representatives from 1969-71, and the Alaska State Senate from 1971-78. During his tenure, he served as President of the Senate and Chairman of the Pipeline Impact Committee. He served on the Governor’s Commission on Workers’ Compensation Reform in 1988 and is recognized throughout the state as an expert on workers’ compensation issues. Chancy Croft served as a member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents from 1995-03, serving as the Chair of the Board from 2001-02.

Marlene Johnson
Johnson was one of the founding board members of the Sealaska Corporation, serving as its chair from 1982-92. Named Citizen of the Year by the AFN in 1995, Johnson has been active in the Huna Totem Corporation, the Tlingit and Haida Central Council, the Rural CAP and the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Advisory Council.

Stephen Haycox
Prof. Stephen Haycox, a Professor of History at the University of Alaska Anchorage, is an American cultural historian specializing in the history of the American West and Alaska. In 2002 the University of Alaska honored him with the Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence, the system's highest annual award, recognizing outstanding service to the university and state. He received a Governor’s Humanities Award in 2003. Prof. Haycox has published widely on Alaska history. His research specialties include the history of Alaska Natives and the place of Alaska in the history of the American West. He is particularly interested in the role of myth in popular history. Since 1996 he has served on the board of the Alaska Humanities Forum, Alaska's state humanities council. In 2001 he served on Alaska Governor Tony Knowles' leadership summit on subsistence. He has been a member of the editorial advisory board of the Alaska Historical Society journal, Alaska History, since its founding, and was recognized as AHS’s “Historian of the Year” in 2003.

Mary Nordale  

Steering Committee

The Creating Alaska project was guided by a Steering Committee composed of historians, Alaska leaders, University of Alaska faculty and staff, and audio-visual experts:

  • Principal Investigator: Karen Perdue, Assoc. Vice President, UA
  • History Expert: Dr. Terrence Cole, UAF Office of Public History
  • Project Advisor: Ann Ringstad, UAF Associate Vice Chancellor
  • Project Advisor: Greg Petrowich, General Manager, KUAC
  • Project Advisor: Kate Ripley, UA Director of Public Affairs
  • Producer/Writer: Mike Letzring, KUAC TV Production
  • Coordinator: Joseph Hardenbrook
  • Public Information Specialist: Patti Harper
  • Administrative Coordinator: Jennifer Bowers
  • Fiscal Technician: Maia Zelenak