William Allen Egan

Former Governor William Egan
Former Governor William Egan

William Allen Egan (October 8, 1914 – May 6, 1984) was an American Democratic politician. He served as the first and the fourth governor of the State of Alaska from January 3, 1959 to 1966 and 1970 to 1974. Born in Valdez, Alaska, Egan is one of only two governors in the state's history (along with Bill Walker) to have been born in Alaska. He was the Democratic nominee in five gubernatorial elections (1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, and 1974).

Following the end of the war, the Territory of Alaska's political and geographical isolation was coming to an end. The construction of the Alaska Highway now linked the territory to the Lower 48 states and Canada, plus an increased military presence due to the Cold War with the neighboring Soviet Union had also brought the territory closer to the rest of North America.

In 1955, the Alaska Legislature ordered the creation of a constitutional convention to seek a state constitution suitable for Congressional approval. The convention met at the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in November. Territorial Senator Egan was chosen to lead the body in drafting a new state document. Following the end of the convention a year later, the Alaska Constitution was sent to Alaskans as part of a referendum in 1958, passing easily. The statehood issue was turned over to the U.S. Congress later that year, passing by only one vote. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the resulting Alaska Statehood Act into law. Alaska was to become the 49th state.

UA Site named after William Allen Egan

Egan Library