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Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson Named Alaska Pacific University President

Mar 31, 2020 | Education, Right Moves

Davidson will be twelfth president of private Anchorage university

APU appointed Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson as its next president.

When Davidson succeeds current APU President Bob Onders on April 25, she will become the 12th president of APU and the first woman to lead the university.

“We are excited about the leadership that Ms. Davidson will bring to APU in this new phase of our journey, including efforts to formally become a Tribal University,” said Ethan Schutt, chairman of APU’s Board of Trustees. “Her background makes her the ideal choice to lead our university. As a seasoned health care executive, attorney, educator, and Alaska Native leader, she has the experience and vision to continue advancing our educational mission, help strengthen ties to our alumni, and serve as a leader in higher education in our community and across Alaska.”

Davidson is well known to Alaskans, having served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services and then lieutenant governor under then-Governor Bill Walker. Prior to that, she worked for more than fifteen years as a national policymaker, focusing on matters affecting Indigenous health.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to lead APU into its next chapter,” Davidson said. “The University has a long tradition of providing an outstanding educational experience for students and a reputation for being a wonderful place to work, learn and grow. While this is a challenging time for the entire APU community as it is for many people around the world, together we’ll weather the storm, and it will be my honor to take the helm.”

The announcement concludes a nationwide search that included twenty-one applicants from across the country. Three finalists were interviewed by the search committee and later shared their visions for APU with the university community in public presentations.

“I want to thank the search committee, the Board of Trustees, and members of the APU community who provided input into the selection of our new president,” Schutt said. “This process involved voices from every part of our campus community, and I am confident that approach led us to the ideal candidate.”

Davidson previously served as Senior Director of Legal and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and as Executive Vice President of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation. Her current board service includes the First Alaskans Institute, the Foraker Group, the United States of Care Founder’s Council, and the Lancet Commission on Arctic Health. Davidson earned a J.D. with a certificate in Indian law from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in bilingual education from the University of Alaska Southeast. Davidson is an enrolled Tribal member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council.

“I couldn’t be more pleased about the selection of Ms. Davidson to be our next president,” said outgoing APU president Onders. “She has the ideal combination of work experience, education, and perspective to guide the university community. APU will be in good hands.”

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