Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame Inducts UA Regent Mary K. Hughes and the late Mary Ciuniq Pete

Leona Long

To honor their exceptional service to the development and enhancement of higher education, the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame has inducted University of Alaska Regent Mary K. Hughes and the late Mary Ciuniq Pete, former UAF College of Rural and Community Development Dean into the class of 2019.

Hughes, who says that she continues to be guided by her late father’s example of steadfast commitment to public higher education, leads The John C. Hughes Foundation, established to support organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for Alaskans. She is  the University of Alaska's Board of Regents’ longest-serving member, and is known for her professionalism, dedication to excellence, humor, and style. Among her long history of service to higher ed, she was selected as the first Alaskan to be appointed to the Board of Directors of the Association of Governing Board of Universities, the nation’s premier authority on higher-education governance.

Hughes’ long career is rivaled only by her track record of exemplary community service. She has served in leadership positions with the Alaska Bar Association, Alaska Bar Foundation, Alaska Airlines Community Advisory Council, Export Council of Alaska, TOTE Community Advisory Board, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation, Alaska Repertory Theatre, Soroptimist International of Cook Inlet, Providence Alaska Foundation, Alaska Humanities Forum and many others.

Honors such as this have been awarded to other members of the Board of Regents. Last year, Regent Gloria O’Neill ATHENA Leadership Award. The award recognized O’Neill’s leadership, community service, and efforts in helping women achieve their full potential. A program of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the Society’s Leadership Award is given to only one ATHENA member annually.

Pete also served director of the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel. She is remembered as a tremendous advocate for Indigenous education, an inspired and inspiring educator, and a leader of great integrity.

From 2005 to the time of her passing, Pete served as director for Kuskokwim Campus. It was natural for her to serve in this capacity because Pete embodied the Kuskokwim Campus mission to prepare professional, community, and cultural leaders in an active and relevant learning environment. She was known for her unwavering commitment to the students and communities she served. Pete held steadfast to her vision of creating a university environment where Alaska Native students felt welcomed and understood.

Throughout her battle with cancer, Pete continued to serve the university and our students. She remained a steadfast advocate for Alaska’s fish, wildlife, clean water, air and land, and the people who depend upon these resources for subsistence. Pete passed away on November 17, 2018 surrounded by loved ones, including her husband Hubert Angaiak, their two teenage sons and a legion of friends from around Alaska.