1998-2010 Mark R. Hamilton

Photo of Mark R. Hamilton
Photo of Mark R. Hamilton

After 31 years of service to this nation, Mark Hamilton retired as a Major General with the U. S. Army in July of 1998. Just prior to accepting the chief leadership position of the university, Hamilton was in charge of recruiting for the entire United States Army during the time of the "Be all you can be" era.

He was appointed by the University of Alaska Board of Regents as the 12th President of the University of Alaska on August 10, 1998. The President oversees the operations of the University of Alaska system covering an area one-fifth the size of the contiguous United States. In the year 2002, the University enrolled 33,516 students, employed 7,686 faculty, staff and students, and had an operating budget of over $600M.

Hamilton received a BS degree from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, a master's degree in English literature from Florida State University, and graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College in Virginia, and the U. S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. As Commander for the U. S. military group in El Salvador, he was largely responsible for negotiating (all in Spanish) an end to the 12-year civil war in El Salvador. In Somalia, his negotiations with warlords resulted in a window of tranquility that enabled the removal of the U. S. 10th Division. In Brussels, he advised the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe on NATO planning concerning the former republic of Yugoslavia. During his military career he was twice assigned to Alaska.

Mark Hamilton is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal - the Army's highest peacetime award. He has also received the Armed Forces' highest peacetime award- the Joint Distinguished Service Medal.

ABC news anchor Peter Jennings featured Hamilton as a "Person of the Week" highlighting his 1993 negotiation with Somalian warlords. He described Hamilton as "the man in the middle", and was convinced that Mark Hamilton was not finished with his mission in life, and that great things were yet to come.

As one of his first official actions as University of Alaska President, Hamilton set up the UA Scholars Program to persuade the state's brightest high school graduates to stay in Alaska for college. The program provides graduates who were in the top 10 percent of their Alaska high school graduating class with scholarships of $10,800 over four years if they attend a UA campus. The program, which received national attention, has been a major success, currently enticing over 1,000 students to stay in Alaska.

Under Hamilton's dynamic leadership over the past five years, the university has been rejuvenated. After a decade of budget cuts, program, faculty and staff reductions, the University of Alaska has experienced budget growth, program expansions, facilities, faculty, staff and student increases unprecedented in previous administrations. President Hamilton has convinced the legislature and the public that the state's financial difficulties are a reason to spend more, not less, on higher education.

Since accepting the presidency of the University, President Hamilton has been appointed as: Commissioner, Denali Commission; Chair, Board of Directors of the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation; Member, Board of Directors of Alaska Air Group, Inc.; Member, Board of Directors of Alaska SeaLife Center; and Chair, Alaska Distance Education Technology Consortium. The Alaska Journal of Commerce has recognized Hamilton as one of the 25 Most Powerful Alaskans for the past 5 years.