Kathleen Wattum Selected Interim Public Affairs Director for UA System
Lifelong Alaskan and University of Alaska alumna Kathleen Wattum has been named interim public affairs director for the University of
Alaska System, Vice President for University Relations Carla Beam has announced.
Wattum, 49, previously served as web information coordinator for the public affairs office. She has 22 years of experience at the
University of Alaska in public relations, communications and marketing. She has also served as adjunct faculty teaching web design.
Wattum will replace Kate Ripley, who is taking a one-year leave of absence to join her husband, University of Alaska Fairbanks professor
Brian O’Donoghue, for a sabbatical year in Pune, India, at Symbiosis International University, where O’Donoghue will teach journalism and
online reporting. O’Donoghue has been named a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar for Teaching and Research at Symbiosis for the upcoming academic year.
“Kathleen will be responsible for the university’s statewide communications with the news media and the general public, as well as
for internal communications, marketing and public relations for the UA System, the Board of Regents and the president,” Beam said. “As a
native Alaskan and long-time UA employee, I feel confident Kathleen will provide steady leadership for UA public affairs in the coming
Wattum was born and raised in Palmer. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Alaska and an Associate of Arts
degree in commercial art from Colorado Mountain College. She and her partner have three children; a son, a UA Scholar attending the
University of Alaska Fairbanks; and twin daughters attending West Valley High School.