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UA Interim President Pat Pitney outlines university success, emphasizes stability and a bright future in State of the University address

by UA News  |   

University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney delivered the annual State of the University address Wednesday, Feb. 24 during which she highlighted success stories across the UA system and the many ways the university benefits the economic needs of the state.

Calling on Alaskans to support higher education and the university, Pitney said state funding stability is key to creating confidence and trust among students and all Alaskans.

“Help us reach the segment of students who may not see that college is possible. Demand stability in state support for the university so we can focus on building enrollment in our certificate and degree programs that are so essential to our state’s economic recovery,” she said. “Have confidence in our state’s future, have confidence in university programs.”

She outlined the accomplishments toward UA’s resizing due to years of budget cuts and the core programs that will remain in place, and emphasized the intrinsic link between university programs and industry jobs. 

“Employers – from hospitals to oil companies to school districts — are asking for our graduates,” she said.

Turning to COVID, Pitney highlighted the challenge of college during COVID-19 and outlined the critical ways in which the university assisted the state in fighting the pandemic including the manufacturing of personal protective equipment and the training of nurses and contact tracers. 

During her address, Pitney said growing and promoting teacher education programs offered across the UA system is one of her priorities. UA-educated teachers are critical to maintaining a strong educational workforce in the state, she said. 

Pitney touched on recent enrollment numbers, the upcoming launch of the university’s philanthropic campaign to raise $200 million, UA’s land grant, and the critical role that university research plays in advancing the state. 

“Education is good for our state,” Pitney said. “I know confidence and trust in our university system is building.” 

A recording of President Pitney’s address can be found at alaska.edu/pres/sou

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