Matthew Cooper Named University of Alaska General Counsel
University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen has named Matthew Cooper as the university’s next General Counsel. Cooper’s appointment will follow the retirement of UA’s current General Counsel Michael Hostina in June. The general counsel serves as the chief legal officer to the board of regents, statewide administration, and all campuses throughout the university system.
“It is a privilege to have Matt as lead counsel and we are extremely fortunate that he has agreed to step into this important role as advisor to the Board of Regents, to me, and the chancellors,” Johnsen says. “My experiences working with him over the years leave no doubt about his capacity, intelligence, and dedication to serve as legal counsel and to lead our legal team.”
Cooper joined the Office of the General Counsel in December 2011 as associate general counsel. He has been lead counsel on many key issues including university athletics, contracts, facilities management and other matters affecting the university.
Before joining the university, Cooper was in private practice in the Anchorage and Fairbanks offices of Guess & Rudd. Cooper also serves on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly and, prior to accepting the general counsel position, he was that body’s presiding officer. He has resigned that position effective May 31 but will remain an assembly member.
“I am honored to be asked to serve the university in this role,” Cooper says. “I look forward to working more closely with the board of regents, President Johnsen, and the university chancellors as we navigate these difficult and trying times. I am dedicated to helping the university meet the needs of Alaska’s diverse peoples, industries and future opportunities.”
Cooper was born in Seattle and grew up in Fairbanks, attending Lathrop High School. He attended college at the University of Puget Sound and graduated law school from the University of Washington, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in politics and government and his juris doctorate. Cooper is a member of both the Washington State and Alaska bar associations.
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Alaska Problems Require Alaska Solutions
On January 16, a fire destroyed the water plant and washeteria in the southwest Alaska village of Tuluksak. For the village of about 350 people, it was a devastating blow. The water plant was the only source of drinking water in the village, in which the primarily Yup’ik residents lack indoor plumbing and rely on honey buckets, not uncommon in the flat, swampy region.