Lawmakers thank outgoing University of Alaska president for his efforts

‘Looking forward to seeing who can take our university to the next level’


FAIRBANKS – The University of Alaska today announced that President Jim Johnsen resigned from his position. Members of the Alaska House Majority released the following statements on the leadership change:


“Jim Johnsen served the University of Alaska under historically challenging circumstances. He was saddled with the impossible task of managing a university system facing a 44 percent cut in state funding. I thank Jim for his service to the University and state of Alaska.”
– House Speaker Bryce Edgmon (I-Dillingham)

“The University of Alaska has always been so much more than the sum of its parts. For over 100 years it’s been a driver of jobs, knowledge, culture and education. Under Jim’s leadership, that was always his driving inspiration, and I thank him for that today. His dedication to academic growth and connecting our UA system to its communities was inspiring. As the Board of Regents moves forward in their search, I’m looking forward to seeing who can take our university to the next level and build a successful institution that keeps our students home and builds on our place as a world class institution.”
– Rep. Grier Hopkins (D-Fairbanks)

“I’ve known Jim Johnsen for over 20 years and appreciate his passion for education and his leadership and service to the University of Alaska. I am sorry to see him go. The university needs capable leadership now to chart a course to the future, and I hope the Board of Regents finds that person.”
– Rep. Bart LeBon (R-Fairbanks)


“I think the  negative focus on Jim Johnson was misguided. He has been dealt a tough hand since he arrived at UA, especially the past two years, and  has tried to implement the needed changes. I feel that more funding  certainly would’ve helped but the entire higher education industry is going through massive changes and we need to keep that in mind going forward. The University is so important to our state and to our local communities that we need to make sure what is done is best for everyone and we must also work to keep regional divisions out of the equation.”
– Rep. Adam Wool (D-Fairbanks)

“The importance of instituting reform requires the expenditure of great political capital. President Johnsen gave his all. In my view, we now need the leader of UA to act as a cheerleader for sufficient funding from Juneau and beyond. The new president must also appreciate the importance of local decision making.”

– Rep. Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage)


Austin Baird
Communications Director
Alaska House Majority
(907) 465-6791

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