On March 25, Alaska Pacific University announced that Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson will succeed its current president, Dr. Robert Onders, on April 25.
The appointment will make Davidson the first female president of the Anchorage-based liberal arts and sciences college. She was selected out of 21 candidates, and was one of three finalists for the position.
Davidson grew up in Bethel and has a long history of working in Alaska Native leadership, health, education, law, and policy. Beginning in October 2018, Davidson served as lieutenant governor to then-Gov. Bill Walker until the end of his term. She was also the former commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services.
In 2016, Alaska Pacific University formed a partnership with Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium to explore steps to becoming a tribal college. Tribal colleges serve Alaska Native, American Indian, and non-Native students, primarily in rural areas that may not have access to larger public colleges or universities. Tribal colleges and universities focus on education, incorporating cultural relevance, and place-based experiences. Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiagvik is currently the only tribal college in Alaska.