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UAS Celebrates the Class of 2021 with Virtual Commencement Ceremonies this Weekend

On the weekend of April 30 to May 2, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will celebrate student achievement and success at commencement activities on its three campuses in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau, with over 400 graduates.

Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Alaska

Date of Press Release: April 26, 2021

On the weekend of April 30 to May 2, the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) will celebrate student achievement and success at commencement activities on its three campuses in Sitka, Ketchikan, and Juneau, with over 400 graduates. Although traditional ceremonies are not taking place in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each campus has created a “virtual commencement” in which students can be celebrated. Students from the UAS Juneau campus will be offered the chance to walk in a future ceremony, hopefully in 2022.  All three community ceremony videos can be accessed at on Friday, April 30 at 5:00 pm.  As the ceremonies are pre-recorded, viewers can tune in at a time that is convenient for them.

About the Juneau Celebration

The 50th UAS Juneau Campus Commencement is being observed with a dedicated web page where as many elements of a traditional ceremony as possible have been preserved. Video messages will be recorded in advance by Chancellor Karen Carey and UA President Pat Pitney.

Pauline Kookesh Duncan will deliver a speech which will be part of both the Juneau and Sitka Commencement videos. Ms. Duncan receives an Honorary Doctorate of Education this year.

The student speaker will be Anastasia Erickson, who graduates this year with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Ana has served as a leader in many capacities during her time at UAS, including as a housing resident advisor and as an intern for the annual literary and arts journal Tidal Echoes.

Juneau’s Outstanding Student Academic Awards for 2021 are also recognized during the commencement ceremony:

  • Annica Tufele, B.A. Special Education
  • Mariah Vantrease, B.A. Elementary Education
  • Honesty Zahnd, B.A. Social Science
  • Anastasia Erickson, B.A. English
  • Nowielle Corpuz, B.S. Mathematics
  • Matthew Moorefield, B.B.A. Management Information Systems
  • Jill Charlie, M.P.A., Ernest Gruening Award for Outstanding Graduate in Public Administration
  • Logan Holt, B.B.A. Management, Bob Ellis Award for Outstanding Graduate in Management
  • Antonina Conger, B.B.A. Accounting
  • Leah Ferster, A.A.S. Business Administration
  • Mary Maley, M.A.T. Secondary Education
  • Maya Edgerly, M.A.T. Elementary Education
  • Corrie Hruby, M. Ed. Educational Leadership
  • Lucy Franklin, B.S. Environmental Science
  • Meghan Tabacek, B.A. Geography, Environmental, and Outdoor Studies
  • Jonah Robinson, B.L.A. Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Kendall McDow, B.B.A. Human Resource Management

Pauline Kookesh Duncan will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Education as part of the ceremony. A greatly respected teacher and culture bearer, she created an invaluable legacy of teaching materials that that merge Tlingit culture and language with Alaska educational standards. Ms. Duncan’s achievements reflect her dedication to the exchange of cultural knowledge and her considerable talent and expertise in the field of elementary education.

As part of the Juneau ceremony, Gordon Jackson will be receiving a 2021 Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to rural education, health services, and economic development for Alaska Natives, particularly in his home region of Southeast Alaska.

About the Ketchikan Celebration

The Ketchikan campus will be celebrating our graduates with a virtual ceremony posted on Friday, April 30 at 5 p.m. Twenty-two students will be recognized and awarded degrees during the ceremony.

This year’s commencement speaker is Clare Bennett, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Writing and Communication. The student speaker will be Jennifer Helberg-Nilsen. Jennifer is graduating with an Associates of Arts, General Program. Video messages from Director Priscilla Schulte, Chancellor Karen Carey, Board of Regent Sheri Buretta, and President Pat Pitney will also be included. Turning of the Tassels will be presented by Director Priscilla Schulte.

A slideshow will present graduate photos, along with their respective degrees and honors, and a few words of wisdom and thanks to those that helped them along their journey.

Elizabeth Nelson, Executive Artistic Director of First City Players, will be presented with a Meritorious Service Award.

About the Sitka Celebration

The UAS Sitka Campus plans to post a virtual commencement video presentation that will be shared on our social media pages and our campus webpage. The video will open with remarks from Campus Director Paul Kraft. The commencement address will then be given by Pauline Duncan, Honorary PhD recipient. UAS Sitka faculty Joel Markis will deliver the faculty reflection, UAS Sitka staff Randy Nutting will deliver the staff reflection and UAS Sitka Associate of Arts graduate Jade Nodes will deliver the student reflection. Other notable speakers will be Chancellor Karey, President Johnsen, and Regent Buretta.

Sitka campus Learning Center manager Audrey Beam will read the names of graduates, and Alaska Languages adjunct faculty Roby Littlefield will read heritage names. A slideshow presentation will present photos of graduates along with a list of those whom they would like to thank for helping them achieve their educational goals.

The video presentation will also recognize graduating students of distinction in the fields of Fisheries Technology, Health Information Management, Medical Assisting, and General Associate of Arts. These students are chosen by their grade point average, their volunteerism, and willingness to go above and beyond. This year’s Students of Distinction are:

  • Fisheries Technology Graduate Student of Distinction: David Carroll
  • Health Information Management Graduate Student of Distinction: Jaime Bucatcat
  • Medical Assisting Graduate Student of Distinction: April McDougall
  • Associates of Arts Graduate Student of Distinction: Jade Nodes

Additional Resources

Press Release Contact

Keni Campbell
University of Alaska Southeast
(907) 796-6509