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Former Lt. Gov. Davidson to become first female president of Alaska Pacific University

Alaska Pacific University announced Tuesday, March 24, 2020, that Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson will succeed its current president Bob Onders on April 25th.

The appointment will make Davidson the first female president of the Anchorage-based liberal arts and sciences college.

Davidson has a long history of working in Alaska Native leadership, health, education, law and policy.

Beginning in October 2018, Davidson served as lieutenant governor to then-Governor Bill Walker, until the end of his term.

She was also the former commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services.

She was selected out of 21 candidates and one of three finalists for the position.

In 2016, Alaska Pacific University formed a partnership with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to explore steps to becoming a tribal college.

Tribal colleges serve Alaska Native, American Indian and non-Native students primarily in rural areas that may not have access to larger public colleges or universities.

Tribal colleges and universities focus on education incorporating cultural relevance and place-based experiences.

Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiagvik is currently the only tribal college in Alaska.

CORRECTION: A previous story about Alaska Pacific University appointing Valerie Davidson as its president incorrectly stated her role with then-Governor Bill Walker's administration. She served as lieutenant governor from October 2018 to the end of his term.

Originally from the Midwest, Tripp Crouse (Ojibwe, a descendent of Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, pronouns: they/them) has 15-plus years in print, web and radio journalism. Tripp first moved to Alaska in 2016 to work with KTOO Public Media in Juneau. And later moved to Anchorage in 2018 to work with KNBA and Koahnic Broadcast Corporation. Tripp currently works for Spruce Root in Juneau, Alaska. Tripp also served as chair of the Station Advisory Committee for Native Public Media.