More than 1,100 UAA students slated to graduate this fall

by Michelle Saport  |   

The University of Alaska Anchorage will celebrate the fall Class of 2019 graduates at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, in the Alaska Airlines Center. The ceremony honors the accomplishments of more than 1,100 undergraduate, graduate and professional school students from the Anchorage campus.

"Our students come from all walks of life. They have families and work full- or part-time jobs while going to school. Many are the first in their family to go to college," UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said. "Uncertainty surrounding state funding this academic year created unexpected challenges for them. I am proud of their resilience and their dedication to completing their degrees. We celebrate them and this important educational achievement in their personal and professional lives."

Rose Kruger will speak on behalf of graduating students as this fall's student commencement speaker. Kruger candidly discusses beginning her college career later in life. She will graduate with bachelor's degrees in English and languages. During her time at UAA, Kruger has occupied myriad student leadership positions including co-founder of the Society of Physics and Astronomy Students at UAA, business manager and vice chair of Club Council, and sergeant-at-arms and chair of the USUAA Rules Committee. She also teaches preschoolers at a German immersion program in Anchorage.

During the ceremony, UAA will award Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Margaret Brown and Peter Michalski. Brown is recognized for her community service, business acumen and leadership of Cook Inlet Region Inc. as president and CEO until her retirement in 2013. Michalski is known for his distinguished public service career as a Superior Court judge and his contributions as a volunteer and philanthropist.

The university will also recognize Michele Brown and Willie Iggiagruk Hensley with Meritorious Service Awards. As president and CEO of United Way of Anchorage, Brown has worked to increase Anchorage's high school graduation rates. Hensley has a distinguished public service career as an Alaska legislator and has championed the issue of Alaska Native land rights.

Retiring faculty who have received emeritus status will also be honored at commencement.

The Alaska Airlines Center has mandatory security screening by walk-through metal detectors. Doors to the arena will open at 11:30 a.m. and general admission seating will begin at noon. Guests should only bring essential items for the event. Leave backpacks and bags larger than 4.5-by-6.5 inches at home. Noisemakers and weapons will be refused at the screening stations. More information is available at

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