Celebrating Women's History Month

March 1, 2022

Dear students, staff, faculty and friends –

Today marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, just as I begin my tenure as the first female president of the University of Alaska in its 100-year history. I am honored to be given this opportunity, and I look forward to working with all of you as we move the system forward for the next 100 years.

There are many women in Alaska’s and the university’s history that have contributed to the success of our state and our university system. Some of their stories have been captured in the Women’s Hall of Fame while others are still being written. As a young woman working in the system office, I was mentored by Wendy Redman, Mary Lou Burton, Patty Kastelic and many others.

Women have succeeded in every field -- in science, sports, research, teaching, politics, the arts, business, academia, the law and in non-profits -- and from every part of the state. I’d like to recognize our distinguished alumnae including Margret Murie, a naturalist, author and conservationist, and the first woman graduate in 1924 from what was then the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines [now UAF]; Harriet Hess who was one of the original eight members of the Board of Regents; and Flora Jane Harper, the first Native graduate from the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, who became a teacher, mentor and role model for many young Native women.

Those women helped to pioneer Alaska’s early history. Today, women lead the university in many capacities from the president’s office to current and former chancellors, vice chancellors, provosts, deans, directors, regents and administrators. 

As president, I am committed to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed and will work to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion remain a priority. Please join me in honoring the strong women who brought us to where we are today. 


Pat Pitney, President

University of Alaska