Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame inducts former UA Regent Fran Rose and Reyne Athanas

To honor their exceptional service to our state, the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame has inducted former University of Alaska Regent Fran Rose, and long-time Kuskokwim Campus instructor and leader Reyne Athanas, into the class of 2020. 

Originally from the Bronx in New York City, Rose is known throughout Alaska as an educator and entrepreneur who introduced Alaskans to bagels and kosher pastrami, and the Sunday New York Times.

Rose and her husband David partnered with Susan and Tony Knowles (prior to his service as mayor of Anchorage and Governor of Alaska), in Anchorage’s popular New York style Downtown Deli. The restaurant soon became as well known for its authentic lox and bagels as it was for the movers and shakers who would hold court at the Deli as they charted Alaska’s future.

A leader in and out of the classroom, Rose taught General Equivalency Diploma (GED) classes to adults, members of the military, and prison inmates as well as consulted on adult education teacher training for Alaska Native villages. She served ten years on the State Advisory Council for vocational and career education, including two years as the Chair. Rose served on the task force to develop the first five-year statewide plan for vocational education. She also consulted with the Alaska Department of Education to conduct staff development workshops in Nome, Bethel and Kotzebue. She served on the UA Board of Regents from 1999 to 2007.

Rose served as Senior Vice President of Administration for Alaska Permanent Capital Management Co. (APCM). The financial investment corporation, which she formed with her husband David Rose, manages more than $2 billion in assets.

For decades, Rose has been a pillar in Alaska as a community and civic organizer. She and her husband also established the Frances & David Rose Foundation, which generously contributes funding to many aspects of what makes Alaska and Anchorage a great place to live. Rose was a founding member of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership and served on the Alaska Tourism and Marketing Council, and a charter member and founder of the Alaska Jewish Museum, which highlights the contributions of Jewish history in Alaska. Rose is the mother of two sons and five grandchildren. 

Athanas is a Bethel artist and educator who moved to the community in 1973. For decades, Athanas taught art at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus and Bethel Regional High School, and was known for creating a safe haven in her classrooms. She recently retired from UAF where she served as director of KuC’s Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center, a unique facility that celebrates the Yup’ik culture. She also helped establish KuC’s Emerging Scholars Program, which provides college-readiness skills to new college students. 

Athanas has led Bethel community and arts organizations for decades. She was one of the founders and on the first Board for the Tundra Women’s Coalition, which is now one of the largest domestic violence and sexual assault shelter/outreach providers in the state of Alaska. Athanas has served on the board of the Bethel Council on the Arts for almost 40 years and also served as a Board member of the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Athanas was honored with Alaska’s American Red Cross Hero Education Award for her bravery and compassion during the 1997 school shooting at Bethel Regional high School. Because of the rapport she had developed with the shooter,  Evan Ramsey, she was able to persuade him to hand over his firearm even as he was pointing it at her and after the principal and a student had been shot. After the school shooting, she was invited by the FBI to attend a conference at Quantico and took a leadership role in the community on how to move forward.

Athanas and her husband Casey Burke raised three sons in Bethel and have two grandchildren.