Alumni of Achievement Award

Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University

AoD-Achievement-grayThe Alumni of Achievement Award honors an alumnus or alumna who has attained prominence through his or her industry, profession or voluntary service and demonstrates sustained excellence, integrity, motivation and dedication in the sphere of their expertise. There is an expectation that the nominee is in the middle or toward the sunset of what is, or has been, a long-term distinguished career or role.

Previous Winners


Viorica Marian 100 x 150Viorica Marian, B.A. Psychology '94. Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University

Viorica is a world-recognized leader in psycholinguistics, studying how multiple languages change our thoughts and behaviors. Her research shows bilingualism provides a constant brain workout, can delay cognitive declines associated with aging, and even changes the way we see the world (yes, literally). The Ph.D. graduate from Cornell—who now leads a research lab in Northwestern University's School of Communication—has presented at conferences across the continents, published over 100 scientific papers and been featured everywhere from Time to BBC to 
The Washington Post. And her academic achievements launched right here at UAA. Read Viorica's full story on Green & Gold News.


091514TedTrueblood01Ted Trueblood, M.S. Civil Engineering '80. President of Tryck Nyman Hayes Inc. (Retired)

Ted's 42-year career in engineering kicked off the summer after the earthquake, and he's had a hand in building the state's infrastructure ever since. Likewise, he's equally dedicated to UAA. He chose to attend MIT when UAA didn't offer a civil engineering baccalaureate degree, and lobbied for expanded undergraduate courses at UAA upon his return to Anchorage. Additionally, he's served as an adjunct instructor for both undergraduate and graduate courses, sat on the civil engineering advisory board, joined UAA's 50th anniversary committee and, along with his wife, been a major gift donor to the College of Engineering. He also served as founding president of the UAA Alumni Association. Read Ted's full story on Green & Gold News


sophieminichSophie Minich, B.B.A. Finance '89., President and CEO of Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI) 

Originally from Seward, Sophie began her 20-year career with CIRI as a project accountant soon after she graduated from UAA's business and finance program. Sophie's served in several leadership roles at CIRI, and was named president and CEO in 2013. A leader with a strong commitment to her community, Sophie is a current director and former chair of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation's board of directors, as well as a trustee of Alaska Regional Hospital and CIRI Elders' Settlement Trust. Read Sophie's full story at the Green & Gold



Carol Comeau M.Ed. '86, LL.D. '07, Retired Superintendent, Anchorage School District

Carol Comeau has been a fixture in the Anchorage community for 38 years. Her passion for education and for children never waned as her career developed from the classroom into administrative leadership. Notably, her proudest success is having been an effective collaborator with the community and the state. From K-12 leader to university leader, Carol continually encouraged good rapport and partnership with the university’s chancellors, and she always loved opportunities to advocate for programs on UAA’s campus as an alumna. Read Carol's full story at the Green & Gold


Eric WohlforthEric Wohlforth, LL.D. '09, M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies '11, Senior Partner & Attorney, Wohlforth, Brecht, Cartledge & Brooking

Seventy-nine-year-old Eric Wohlforth is the epitome of a lifelong learner. He adds his degree from UAA to a resume that includes Princeton University, University of Virginia School of Law, Loyola University and the Fielding Graduate Institute. Rooted in community service, Eric serves on the Chancellor's Board of Advisors and the UA Foundation Board of Trustees, is a leadership-level donor to the University, and is currently the chair of the UA Foundation Investment Committee.


2010-Dana-StabenowDana Stabenow, M.F.A. ’85, Author

Dana Stabenow is an Alaska author who has produced literary works in the science fiction, mystery and suspense/thriller genres. Many of Stabenow's books are set in her home state of Alaska, where she was raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. Stabenow received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Alaska in 1973 and graduated in 1985 from UAA's MFA program. She published her first novel, Second Star, in 1990. Her first Kate Shugak book, A Cold Day for Murder, won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 1993 and her 27th novel, Though Not Dead, came out in February 2011. Her proudest achievement is participating in two successful Authors to the Bush programs in 2001 and 2007, which sent a hundred published authors to communities from Unalaska to Anaktuvuk Pass to talk to kids in the Bush about reading and writing.