Spring 2024 Meritorious Service Award: Ira Perman

by Michelle Saport  |   

Ira Perman speaks as he receives the Meritorious Service Award.
Atwood Foundation Executive Director Ira Perman speaks as he receives the Meritorious Service Award at the 2024 Spring Commencement Awards ceremony in UAA's Fine Arts Building. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Ira Perman is a dedicated professional with over four decades of experience in supporting the arts, humanities and community development in Alaska, embodying the spirit of selflessness and service.

As executive director of the Anchorage Concert Association for 20 years, Perman played a pivotal role in elevating the cultural experiences of countless Alaskans through exceptional musical performances.
As president of the Alaska Humanities Forum, he championed the importance of humanities education and its impact on our society. His leadership brought about significant advancements in fostering critical thinking, cultural understanding and civic engagement within the community.
In his current role as executive director of the Atwood Foundation, he has continued to uplift the community through grants and scholarships for education and arts and journalism projects. Under his leadership, the organization has emerged as one of the largest local funders in the state, supporting organizations and individuals dedicated to cultural, educational and humanitarian causes — not the least of which is UAA.
Prior to joining the Atwood Foundation, Perman volunteered with the UAA Department of Theatre and Dance  assisting with evening performances and stepping up to fill a variety of technical crew roles as needed. He continues to support and champion the arts at UAA, both personally and through his work with the foundation.
Perman's career is rich with volunteer and community service, having also served on committees and boards for the Institute of the North, Anchorage Rotary, Atwood Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.
His exceptional leadership, dedication to the arts and commitment to philanthropy have enriched the lives of Alaskans and left an enduring legacy.

On Wednesday, May 1, the University of Alaska Anchorage honored Ira Perman with a Meritorious Service Award during a special ceremony in advance of spring commencement. Also recognized were Honorary Degree recipients Alvin Amason and Diane Kaplan as well as Meritorious Service Award recipient Cathy Rasmuson.

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