Longtime Alaska public relations expert Carla Beam to lead UA Foundation and UA University Relations beginning Aug. 1, 2011

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

The University of Alaska System's vice president for university relations is retiring after four decades of service. Her replacement is a longtime public relations professional who will serve as president of the non-profit University of Alaska Foundation in addition to assuming university relations duties.

University Relations Vice President Wendy Redman started at the university over 40 years ago as an administrative assistant in the Biology Department at the Fairbanks campus. She worked her way up through the organization and was named vice president in 1988.

"Being part of the university community has been a privilege. The work of the university is so important to Alaska and to the lives of our graduates," Redman said. "I feel very grateful to have been a part of this wonderful institution as it has matured and developed over the past four decades."

UA President Pat Gamble was highly complimentary of Redman's service. He singled out her exceptional leadership and her premier role in coordinating career and technical education between the university and state, as well as building private philanthropic support for the UA System.

"Students, faculty, staff and the State of Alaska have all benefited greatly from Wendy's leadership, her intelligence, her common sense and her direct style," he said. "I speak for the many hundreds who enjoyed working with her in wishing her a happy retirement."

Carla Beam will replace retiring UA Foundation president Wendy Redman beginning Aug. 1Carla Beam will serve as Redman's successor effective Aug. 1, Gamble announced. In addition to that, Beam also will serve as president of the UA Foundation, a position previously held by Associate Vice President Mary Rutherford, who is leaving to take a position at Boise State University. The restructuring elevates the foundation's chief executive officer to a higher level within the university framework -- a formal recognition of the important role philanthropic support plays within the University of Alaska.

The UA Foundation is governed by its own Board of Trustees and is entrusted with the management of all private donations to all UA campuses, with $320 million of assets under management. Beam's duties for the foundation will be to serve as day-to-day manager of the organization. As vice president for university relations at the system office, she'll oversee public affairs, government relations and the overall advancement of the university.

Beam, 57, has an extensive resume in corporate, non-profit and community based public relations. She worked in public relations for Wien Air Alaska from 1980-1985 and in community and external affairs for BP (Exploration) Alaska Inc. from 1997-2009. She also ran her own public relations firm in Alaska from 1985-1997, representing business, government and nonprofit sectors.

Beam also has served on numerous boards and committees, including the United Way and Alaska Community Foundation. She was the 2011 recipient of the University of Alaska Anchorage Meritorious Service Award, and has received numerous YMCA and YWCA awards over the years, including the YWCA's Outstanding Woman in Philanthropy Award in 2005. In 2009, she received the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Gold Pan Award for Community Service.

Leaders of both the university system administration and the UA Foundation strongly supported the choice of Beam.

"Carla is highly qualified to step into this new combined position," Gamble said. "She knows Alaska very well, and she knows the University of Alaska."

Eric Wohlforth, vice chair of the foundation's Board of Trustees, agrees. "The foundation board has a great deal of confidence in Carla, and we're pleased about the opportunities the combined position presents. It clearly acknowledges what was already a strong relationship between the UA administration and the foundation, and I believe that relationship will become even stronger because of this decision."

Beam, who holds a bachelor's degree from Reed College in Portland, Ore., also served on the foundation's Board of Trustees for seven years. She said she's honored to accept the appointment.

"I look forward to working with President Gamble, the Board of Regents, the chancellors, staff members at all our campuses, UA Foundation leaders, donors, elected officials, alumni and numerous businesses and organizations throughout Alaska," Beam said. "As an Alaska resident for more than 35 years, I believe strongly in the university's mission of education, public service, workforce training and research."

Beam, an avid outdoors enthusiast, enjoys whitewater rafting and running.

For more information, contact Kate Ripley at (907) 450-8102.

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