Remembering Ed Rasmuson

by Pat Pitney, Interim UA President  |   

Dear UA Community –

It is with great sadness that I write to you about the death of Ed Rasmuson, a visionary business and community leader and staunch advocate for the University of Alaska. Ed believed Alaska’s future requires great universities to educate our citizens, develop our workforce, and embark on research of global impact, and he worked tirelessly to promote that vision. With his passing, we pause to remember a man who served in so many remarkable ways and was a true asset for our state.

Ed was dedicated to instilling in others a sense of duty to service and the importance of leadership and philanthropy. His lifetime commitment to Alaska is a true legacy, and a high standard for this generation, our children and grandchildren to continue to shape this great state.

Ed was devoted to education for all, and so strong was his devotion to it that he served on the University of Alaska Board of Regents for 14 years [three years as its chair from 1979-1982], while simultaneously serving on the Board of Trustees at Alaska Pacific University, Sheldon Jackson College and on the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors from 1987-1997.

We knew Ed as the grandson of immigrants whose family founded one of Alaska’s most prominent banks, National Bank of Alaska. Ed held almost every job at the bank until he finally was named its president in 1974 and chairman of the Board in 1985. He later negotiated the successful sale of the bank to Wells Fargo, the proceeds of which became the seed fund for the Rasmuson Foundation, whose impact has reached every corner of Alaska. 

As a community leader, Ed often penned opinion pieces in local publications, took an avid  interest in promoting the arts, and dedicated foundation funds to everything from Alaska’s fisheries, to promoting the Pick.Click.Give program, advocating for sound fiscal policy and higher education. As I look around it’s easy to see the impact of his lasting commitment to Alaska. Ed has given all of us a better Alaska. 

In this time of loss, I extend my deepest condolences to the Rasmuson family and ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as we remember a truly incredible Alaskan. 

Pat Pitney, Interim President
University of Alaska 

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