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Class of 2010

Pictured (Back L-R) Jo Scott, Peg Tileston, Helen Nienhueser, Shirley Holloway, Marlene Johnson (Front L-R) Ethel Lund,  Marge Mullen, Georgianna Lincoln, Bettye J. Davis, Betsy Tower,  Nora Dauenhauer,

Not pictured: Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams,  Alice Brown, Hazel Heath, Virginia “Ginny” Hill Wood, 

Photo of Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams

Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams

19282009
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Civil Rights

As a teenager, Alberta Schenck knew segregation was wrong and she set out to do something about it.  After being removed from a segregated movie theater in Nome, she was jailed because the theater’s policies forbade Natives and ‘half-breeds’ from sitting with whites. She subsequently spoke out in an historical essay that appeared in the Nome Nugget in 1944 and she followed up by writing to elected officials expressing the sentiment that was echoed later in the civil rights movement of the 1950s: “I only truthfully know that I am one of God’s children regardless of race, color or creed.”  She directly helped to bring about the Alaska Civil Rights Act passed by the Territorial Legislature 10 years before the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision.

Much of Alberta’s advocacy was linked to her family, in particular her Aunt Frances Longley and Frances’ partner, Territorial Senator O.D. Cochran, their children, and friend, Ernest Gruening.  Alberta’s unique family relationships allowed her to share her ideas with people directly involved in voting on the Alaska Civil Rights Act.  Alberta’s aunt was a member of the Arctic Native Sisterhood in Nome which provided the connection with Roy and Elizabeth Peratrovich.  Alberta was able to provide crucial testimony from Northwestern Alaska that directly contributed to the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

Throughout her life Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams believed it is not possible to hold moral norms without practical compassion for the very people to whom Truth is spoken with love, even if they disagree.

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19282009
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Civil Rights

As a teenager, Alberta Schenck knew segregation was wrong and she set out to do something about it. After being removed from a segregated movie theater in Nome, she was jailed because the theater’s policies forbade Natives and ‘half-breeds’ from sitting with whites. She subsequently spoke out in an historical essay that appeared in the Nome Nugget in 1944 and she followed up by writing to elected officials expressing the sentiment that was echoed later in the civil rights movement of the 1950s: “I only truthfully know that I am one of God’s children regardless of race, color or creed.” She directly helped to bring about the Alaska Civil Rights Act passed by the Territorial Legislature 10 years before the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision.

Much of Alberta’s advocacy was linked to her family, in particular her Aunt Frances Longley and Frances’ partner, Territorial Senator O.D. Cochran, their children, and friend, Ernest Gruening. Alberta’s unique family relationships allowed her to share her ideas with people directly involved in voting on the Alaska Civil Rights Act. Alberta’s aunt was a member of the Arctic Native Sisterhood in Nome which provided the connection with Roy and Elizabeth Peratrovich. Alberta was able to provide crucial testimony from Northwestern Alaska that directly contributed to the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

Throughout her life Alberta Daisy Schenck Adams believed it is not possible to hold moral norms without practical compassion for the very people to whom Truth is spoken with love, even if they disagree.



Photo of Alice Brown

Alice Brown

19121973
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Political Activism

Alice was best known for her work to pass the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and her commitment to improving conditions in rural and urban health, education, human rights and subsistence issues.  As a member of the first Alaska Federation of Natives Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board for the Alaskan Native Political Education Committee and a member of the rural Affairs Commission to name a few, Alice fought tirelessly for the rights of Alaskan Natives during a pivotal time in Alaskan history. She championed the causes of all people who were disadvantaged or disenfranchised through her work with humanitarian causes like the Hope Cottage, Jesse Lee Home and she was honored to be selected to attend the United Nations conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972.

Alice worked tirelessly promoting civic responsibility and with courageous tenacity helped build consensus on many important issues of her day. Her work on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act helped shape the course of Alaskan history. As noted in the Alaska Senate resolution honoring her in 1973 – “her life and her devotion to her fellow Alaskans will long stand as an example to those who may follow in her footsteps.”

As the only woman on the original Board of Directors of the Alaska Federation of Natives and the only woman on the many committees, boards and commissions she served on, she became a role model for Native and non-Native women alike. She exemplifies what a powerful role women have in shaping the direction of future generations. With her actions she paved the way for many other dedicated women leaders and activists.

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19121973
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Political Activism

Alice was best known for her work to pass the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and her commitment to improving conditions in rural and urban health, education, human rights and subsistence issues. As a member of the first Alaska Federation of Natives Board of Directors, Chairman of the Board for the Alaskan Native Political Education Committee and a member of the rural Affairs Commission to name a few, Alice fought tirelessly for the rights of Alaskan Natives during a pivotal time in Alaskan history. She championed the causes of all people who were disadvantaged or disenfranchised through her work with humanitarian causes like the Hope Cottage, Jesse Lee Home and she was honored to be selected to attend the United Nations conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972.

Alice worked tirelessly promoting civic responsibility and with courageous tenacity helped build consensus on many important issues of her day. Her work on the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act helped shape the course of Alaskan history. As noted in the Alaska Senate resolution honoring her in 1973 – “her life and her devotion to her fellow Alaskans will long stand as an example to those who may follow in her footsteps.”

As the only woman on the original Board of Directors of the Alaska Federation of Natives and the only woman on the many committees, boards and commissions she served on, she became a role model for Native and non-Native women alike. She exemplifies what a powerful role women have in shaping the direction of future generations. With her actions she paved the way for many other dedicated women leaders and activists.



Photo of Nora Marks “Keixwnéi” Dauenhauer

Nora Marks “Keixwnéi” Dauenhauer

Tlingit Name: Keixwnéi 1927
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Literature

Nora Marks Dauenhauer has devoted her life to studying, translating, and writing books about the Tlingit language and Tlingit oral history. She is internationally recognized for her fieldwork, transcription, translation, and explication of Tlingit stories and literature. She has also written numerous poems and plays. She served as Principal Researcher, Language and Cultural Studies, at the Sealaska Heritage Foundation for fourteen years, and has written ten books and many articles about Tlingit language. She has taught generations of Tlingit people about their language, their stories and their culture.

She is married to Richard Dauenhauer, writer and linguist, with whom she has co-authored and co-edited several editions of Tlingit language and folklore material. Nora has 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren and is semi-retired, but she continues with research, writing, consulting, and volunteer work with schools and community.

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Tlingit Name: Keixwnéi 1927
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Literature

Nora Marks Dauenhauer has devoted her life to studying, translating, and writing books about the Tlingit language and Tlingit oral history. She is internationally recognized for her fieldwork, transcription, translation, and explication of Tlingit stories and literature. She has also written numerous poems and plays. She served as Principal Researcher, Language and Cultural Studies, at the Sealaska Heritage Foundation for fourteen years, and has written ten books and many articles about Tlingit language. She has taught generations of Tlingit people about their language, their stories and their culture.

She is married to Richard Dauenhauer, writer and linguist, with whom she has co-authored and co-edited several editions of Tlingit language and folklore material. Nora has 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren and is semi-retired, but she continues with research, writing, consulting, and volunteer work with schools and community.



Photo of Bettye J. Davis

Bettye J. Davis

1938
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Politics

When she retired as a Social Worker in 1986, Bettye Davis moved on to a second career in government. She served as a member of the Anchorage School Board from 1982-1989, and 1998-1999. She was a State Representative from 1990-1996, Chair of the State Board of Education from 1998-1999, and then became the first African-American to be elected as a State Senator in 2000. Born in Homer, Louisiana, she obtained a certificate in nursing in 1961 and a Bachelor of Social Work in 1972. She moved to Anchorage in 1973. She is a member of many organizations, including the Alaska Black Leadership Conference, Church Women United, Common Ground, NAACP, League of Women Voters, the Delta Sigma Theta, and the Zonta Club of Anchorage. She has served on numerous legislative committees, including serving as the Vice Chair of the Education Committee and the Chair of the Health, Education and Social Services Committee.

The numerous bills she has sponsored show her concern for these areas. She is also a member of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group and sponsor of Senate Bill 69 which calls for the reinstatement of the Commission on the Status of Women. “Alaska with its unique culture, history, and challenges combined with its large size and small population, calls for innovative forward thinking to deal with many of the difficult issues facing Alaskan women and their families. The creation of a Commission on the Status of Women will once again focus the attention of Alaskans on these critical issues.”

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1938
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Politics

When she retired as a Social Worker in 1986, Bettye Davis moved on to a second career in government. She served as a member of the Anchorage School Board from 1982-1989, and 1998-1999. She was a State Representative from 1990-1996, Chair of the State Board of Education from 1998-1999, and then became the first African-American to be elected as a State Senator in 2000. Born in Homer, Louisiana, she obtained a certificate in nursing in 1961 and a Bachelor of Social Work in 1972. She moved to Anchorage in 1973. She is a member of many organizations, including the Alaska Black Leadership Conference, Church Women United, Common Ground, NAACP, League of Women Voters, the Delta Sigma Theta, and the Zonta Club of Anchorage. She has served on numerous legislative committees, including serving as the Vice Chair of the Education Committee and the Chair of the Health, Education and Social Services Committee.

The numerous bills she has sponsored show her concern for these areas. She is also a member of the Senate Bipartisan Working Group and sponsor of Senate Bill 69 which calls for the reinstatement of the Commission on the Status of Women. “Alaska with its unique culture, history, and challenges combined with its large size and small population, calls for innovative forward thinking to deal with many of the difficult issues facing Alaskan women and their families. The creation of a Commission on the Status of Women will once again focus the attention of Alaskans on these critical issues.”



Photo of Hazel Heath

Hazel Heath

19091998
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Business, Politics

Hazel Heath will long be remembered as the founder of the Pratt Museum, the first woman president of the Alaska Municipal League, and, with her husband Ken, the first owners of Alaska Wild Berry Products, which began in Homer, Alaska. They also owned a café, and an art shop and gallery in Homer. She was committed to Alaska politics and served many years as the Mayor of Homer. She was a National Republican delegate many times, and was a member of numerous federal, state and local boards and commissions, including the University of Alaska, local and state chambers of commerce, local and state museum boards, and state and national senior citizens advisory boards. In 1977, she received the Homer Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award and in 1989 Meritorious Service Award from the University of Alaska.

Hazel’s pioneering role in local and state government paved the way for many other women to get involved in politics. She possessed an acute doggedness when undertaking something that would make life in Homer and Alaska better for herself and others.

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19091998
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Business, Politics

Hazel Heath will long be remembered as the founder of the Pratt Museum, the first woman president of the Alaska Municipal League, and, with her husband Ken, the first owners of Alaska Wild Berry Products, which began in Homer, Alaska. They also owned a café, and an art shop and gallery in Homer. She was committed to Alaska politics and served many years as the Mayor of Homer. She was a National Republican delegate many times, and was a member of numerous federal, state and local boards and commissions, including the University of Alaska, local and state chambers of commerce, local and state museum boards, and state and national senior citizens advisory boards. In 1977, she received the Homer Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award and in 1989 Meritorious Service Award from the University of Alaska.

Hazel’s pioneering role in local and state government paved the way for many other women to get involved in politics. She possessed an acute doggedness when undertaking something that would make life in Homer and Alaska better for herself and others.



Photo of Shirley Holloway, Ph.D.

Shirley Holloway, Ph.D.

1940
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Education

Shirley Holloway is best known for establishing the Quality Schools Initiative, calling for high expectations for all students in Alaska and proving that all students, no matter their social, economic or ethnic background, can be academically successful. Holloway has been recognized as a woman breaking the glass ceiling to become one of the first female superintendents (North Slope Borough School District), the first female National finalist for Superintendent of the Year, and the first female Commissioner of Education in Alaska.

Shirley holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Gonzaga University, has published and presented numerous papers, and served on many boards and commissions. In 2005, she founded the Avant-Garde Learning Foundation, a non-profit foundation that helps communities, families and schools prepare young people for bright, successful futures. She has actively reached out to girls and women to help them, through mentoring and support, to achieve their desired goals. Today, many educational leaders in Alaska and Outside attribute their success to her inspiration and effective influence. Her guiding philosophy is Children Come First.

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1940
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Education

Shirley Holloway is best known for establishing the Quality Schools Initiative, calling for high expectations for all students in Alaska and proving that all students, no matter their social, economic or ethnic background, can be academically successful. Holloway has been recognized as a woman breaking the glass ceiling to become one of the first female superintendents (North Slope Borough School District), the first female National finalist for Superintendent of the Year, and the first female Commissioner of Education in Alaska.

Shirley holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Gonzaga University, has published and presented numerous papers, and served on many boards and commissions. In 2005, she founded the Avant-Garde Learning Foundation, a non-profit foundation that helps communities, families and schools prepare young people for bright, successful futures. She has actively reached out to girls and women to help them, through mentoring and support, to achieve their desired goals. Today, many educational leaders in Alaska and Outside attribute their success to her inspiration and effective influence. Her guiding philosophy is Children Come First.



Photo of Marlene “Slath Jaa Klaa Lákooti” Johnson

Marlene “Slath Jaa Klaa Lákooti” Johnson

Slath Jaa Klaa Lákooti (Tlingit name) 1935
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Public Service

Marlene Johnson has worked at the community, regional, state and federal levels to advance Alaska Native social and economic progress and has provided public service to promote quality education and access to health and legal services across Alaska. She participated in the fight for the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and was one of 5 original incorporators of Sealaska . She led that corporation as the Chairman of the Board for its first decade. Marlene also served on the Hoonah School Board for 25 years and on the Board of Trustees of Huna Heritage Foundation and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.

On a statewide basis, Marlene led the fight against rural poverty through her service on the RuralCAP Board of Directors – including 10 years as the president. She has also served on the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, the Board of Alaska Legal Services and numerous state boards and commissions. Nationally, Marlene has served as an Advisory Committee member to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and also participated in numerous pieces of federal legislation such as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Marlene has received the Alaska Democratic Party’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alaska Federation of Natives Citizen of the Year Award and Outstanding Women of America Award. She and her husband, Clifford, have five children and thirteen grandchildren.

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Slath Jaa Klaa Lákooti (Tlingit name) 1935
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Public Service

Marlene Johnson has worked at the community, regional, state and federal levels to advance Alaska Native social and economic progress and has provided public service to promote quality education and access to health and legal services across Alaska. She participated in the fight for the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) and was one of 5 original incorporators of Sealaska . She led that corporation as the Chairman of the Board for its first decade. Marlene also served on the Hoonah School Board for 25 years and on the Board of Trustees of Huna Heritage Foundation and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.

On a statewide basis, Marlene led the fight against rural poverty through her service on the RuralCAP Board of Directors – including 10 years as the president. She has also served on the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, the Board of Alaska Legal Services and numerous state boards and commissions. Nationally, Marlene has served as an Advisory Committee member to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and also participated in numerous pieces of federal legislation such as the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

Marlene has received the Alaska Democratic Party’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Alaska Federation of Natives Citizen of the Year Award and Outstanding Women of America Award. She and her husband, Clifford, have five children and thirteen grandchildren.



Photo of Georgianna Lincoln

Georgianna Lincoln

1943
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Politics

Georgianna Lincoln was born in Rampart, Alaska, and moved to Fairbanks as a young woman. She worked to secure Alaska Native land claims in the ‘70s, developed health and education programs in her region in the ‘80s, and shaped Alaska public policy in the Alaska State Senate in the ‘90s. In 2010, she leads Doyon Corporation and its subsidiaries as the Chairman of the Board, a board on which she has served for 33 years.

Senator Lincoln is Athabaskan and served in the Alaska legislature for 14 years. She is the first, and as of this writing, the only Native woman who has been elected to the Alaska State Senate, where she championed issues of women and children as well as natural resource management. In 1996, she was the first Native woman to be a candidate for the US Congress from Alaska, and she has served as a mentor for women across the state within and outside of the Native community. Georgianna also worked as the Executive Director of the Fairbanks Native Association and as a Director at Tanana Chiefs Conference. She believes that her most significant achievement has been to raise two self-actualized children, who are nurturing her eight curious and joyful grandchildren in Alaska.

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1943
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Politics

Georgianna Lincoln was born in Rampart, Alaska, and moved to Fairbanks as a young woman. She worked to secure Alaska Native land claims in the ‘70s, developed health and education programs in her region in the ‘80s, and shaped Alaska public policy in the Alaska State Senate in the ‘90s. In 2010, she leads Doyon Corporation and its subsidiaries as the Chairman of the Board, a board on which she has served for 33 years.

Senator Lincoln is Athabaskan and served in the Alaska legislature for 14 years. She is the first, and as of this writing, the only Native woman who has been elected to the Alaska State Senate, where she championed issues of women and children as well as natural resource management. In 1996, she was the first Native woman to be a candidate for the US Congress from Alaska, and she has served as a mentor for women across the state within and outside of the Native community. Georgianna also worked as the Executive Director of the Fairbanks Native Association and as a Director at Tanana Chiefs Conference. She believes that her most significant achievement has been to raise two self-actualized children, who are nurturing her eight curious and joyful grandchildren in Alaska.



Photo of Ethel (Aan Wugeex’) Lund

Ethel (Aan Wugeex’) Lund

Aan Wugeex’ 1931
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Health, Native Issues

Best known as a former member of the Sealaska Board of Directors, Ethel was one of the original founders of this Native Corporation that is “committed to the advocacy.” She also had the stick-to-itiveness to help found the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and is actively involved as SEARHC president emeritus. She led a Native Health organization for a quarter of a century. Recognizing Ethel’s significant years of dedicated work in the area of health, she was appointed by President Carter to represent Alaska Natives on the President’s Commission on Mental Health where she spoke on “Alaska Health Needs” for the World Health Organization, International Symposium on Circumpolar Health in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Those who know her say not to let Ethel’s quiet demeanor fool you: she is very capable of asking the tough questions. It is this quiet power and her numerous achievements that lead other Alaska Native women to hold her in high esteem, as evidenced by the positions she has held with the Alaska Native Sisterhood.

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Aan Wugeex’ 1931
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Health, Native Issues

Best known as a former member of the Sealaska Board of Directors, Ethel was one of the original founders of this Native Corporation that is “committed to the advocacy.” She also had the stick-to-itiveness to help found the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and is actively involved as SEARHC president emeritus. She led a Native Health organization for a quarter of a century. Recognizing Ethel’s significant years of dedicated work in the area of health, she was appointed by President Carter to represent Alaska Natives on the President’s Commission on Mental Health where she spoke on “Alaska Health Needs” for the World Health Organization, International Symposium on Circumpolar Health in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Those who know her say not to let Ethel’s quiet demeanor fool you: she is very capable of asking the tough questions. It is this quiet power and her numerous achievements that lead other Alaska Native women to hold her in high esteem, as evidenced by the positions she has held with the Alaska Native Sisterhood.



Photo of Marge Mullen

Marge Mullen

1920
Categories: 2010 Alumnae

A city girl from Chicago, Marge walked 65 miles through the wilderness to stake a homestead on Soldotna Creek near the Kenai River. She is the first woman to live in Soldotna under the Homestead Act in 1947. As a young wife and mother making her home in a log cabin on Soldotna Creek in 1947, Marge learned many skills she never dreamed of as a child in Chicago. Living without a grocery store meant that she would have to learn to hunt, catch, grow and preserve the family food.

Inspired by the first Earth Day, Marge organized the first roadside litter pickup in 1970. She also served as a member and chair of the local planning commission. With her hiking “buddies” (most of who were male), Marge organized the Kenai Peninsula Conservation Society and served a term as its president in the 1980s.

Today, Marge is unofficial historian for Soldotna. She has archived over 1000 photos at Kenai Peninsula College. She chairs the local historical society and coordinates activities at the town’s Homestead Museum. She brings a digital slide show, a charming wit and her vast knowledge of the early days to the local speaker circuit.

Marge, now in her ninetieth year, still takes a brisk walk daily and is a continuing inspiration for generations of local women as she actively maintains her health and her connections with her family and community. Marge continues to reside in the community she helped to build and where she raised her four children.

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1920
Categories: 2010 Alumnae

A city girl from Chicago, Marge walked 65 miles through the wilderness to stake a homestead on Soldotna Creek near the Kenai River. She is the first woman to live in Soldotna under the Homestead Act in 1947. As a young wife and mother making her home in a log cabin on Soldotna Creek in 1947, Marge learned many skills she never dreamed of as a child in Chicago. Living without a grocery store meant that she would have to learn to hunt, catch, grow and preserve the family food.

Inspired by the first Earth Day, Marge organized the first roadside litter pickup in 1970. She also served as a member and chair of the local planning commission. With her hiking “buddies” (most of who were male), Marge organized the Kenai Peninsula Conservation Society and served a term as its president in the 1980s.

Today, Marge is unofficial historian for Soldotna. She has archived over 1000 photos at Kenai Peninsula College. She chairs the local historical society and coordinates activities at the town’s Homestead Museum. She brings a digital slide show, a charming wit and her vast knowledge of the early days to the local speaker circuit.

Marge, now in her ninetieth year, still takes a brisk walk daily and is a continuing inspiration for generations of local women as she actively maintains her health and her connections with her family and community. Marge continues to reside in the community she helped to build and where she raised her four children.



Photo of Helen Nienhueser

Helen Nienhueser

1936
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Environmentalism

Helen was raised in Pennsylvania, received a BA degree from Brown University (Pembroke College) and a MPA from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  She first visited Alaska for a summer job in 1957 and moved permanently to Alaska in 1959, homesteading in Eagle River. She has been a significant player in shaping Alaska.  In 1970, she organized a successful statewide grassroots movement to reform Alaska’s abortion law. In 1971, Helen helped establish the Alaska Center for the Environment and served as volunteer staff and board member. As a planner at the Department of Natural Resources, Helen developed procedures for state land selections and land use planning.  She has long served as a trustee, including chair, of the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Helen chaired the Governor’s TRAAK Board and has served on the Municipality of Anchorage’s Parks and Recreation Commission. Helen is credited with the creation of the Cuddy Family Midtown Park for her advocacy over twenty-five years.

Helen is undoubtedly best known as the co-author of the pioneering hiking book 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska. Now in its fifth edition, this book set the standard for Alaska hiking guides.  She received many awards, including those from the Governor, Legislature, Department of Natural Resources, Mayor, Municipality of Anchorage, YWCA (Woman of Achievement) and Mountaineering Club of Alaska.  Helen’s commitment to founding and then doing the hard work of our environmental, park and community organizations has made Alaska’s lands, trails and communities all better places.

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1936
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Environmentalism

Helen was raised in Pennsylvania, received a BA degree from Brown University (Pembroke College) in 1957 and a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1985. Helen first visited Alaska in the summer of 1957 for a summer job at the Fairbanks Girl Scout camp and moved permanently to Alaska in 1959, homesteading in the far reaches of Eagle River. She has been a significant player over the past fifty years in shaping Alaska. Helen’s contributions have been many and varied, as a community activist, professional planner, author and conservationist.

In 1970, she organized a successful state-wide grassroots movement to reform Alaska’s abortion law, making Alaska the third state in the country (and three years before Roe v. Wade) to permit a woman to choose abortion in consultation with her doctor. In 1971 Helen helped establish the Alaska Center for the Environment and served as volunteer staff and as a board member for nine years. As a professional planner at the Department of Natural Resources from 1976-1994, Helen developed procedures for state land selections and land use planning processes that attempt to balance development and conservation with genuine public input. At the Juneau women’s conference in 1996, Helen initiated the discussion that led to the formation of the Alaska Women’s Network. She has served as a trustee of the Alaska Conservation Foundation for thirteen years, including chair in 2007 and currently serves today. From 1996-2003, Helen chaired the Governor’s TRAAK Board which led to better land and trail management throughout the state. On the municipal level, she served for six years on the Parks and Recreation Commission and was involved in any number of conservation and recreational issues surrounding parks in Anchorage. In 1983, as a community activist and conservationist, Helen started advocating for a park in Midtown. It is due to her persistence and committed leadership over the next twenty-five years that the Cuddy Family Midtown Park became a reality and officially opened in August 2008. She currently serves on the boards of Common Ground and Alaska Geographic.

Helen is undoubtedly best known to tourists and Alaskans alike as the co-author of the pioneering hiking book 55 Ways to the Wilderness in Southcentral Alaska. This “bible” has enabled generations of Alaskans and visitors to experience the wonders of the natural world in Alaska. Initially published in 1972 and now in its fifth edition, this work has set the standard for excellence and accuracy in Alaska hiking guides.

Helen has received numerous awards over the years in recognition of her many accomplishments. She has been honored by the Governor, Legislature, the Department of Natural Resources, Mayor, Municipality of Anchorage, as a YWCA Woman of Achievement and is an honorary lifetime member of the Mountaineering Club of Alaska.

Helen is a leader with ideas, who skillfully chairs meetings, works hard, and gets people working together. Her commitment to founding and then doing the hard work of our environmental, park and community organizations has made Alaska’s lands, trails and communities all better places.



Photo of Jo Ryman Scott

Jo Ryman Scott

1929
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Education

A Fairbanks resident for the past 57 years, Jo Ryman Scott is known as a passionate educator and advocate of the Arts. She has received numerous awards for her contributions in these areas, including two Governors Awards for the Arts and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  She began her teaching career 63 years ago in a little country school near Aberdeen, South Dakota.  Three years later, she left to attend college at San Jose State.  After graduating in 1953, she accepted a teaching position in Fairbanks.  In addition to teaching in the public school system, she founded the first educational pre-school there in 1962 and started a junior high school fine arts camp in 1976. In 1980, she realized a dream by establishing a study-performance arts festival in Fairbanks known as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Jo retired last summer after producing the 30th season. She and her husband, Dick, were married in 1954 and have three children.

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1929
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Education

A Fairbanks resident for the past 57 years, Jo Ryman Scott is known as a passionate educator and advocate of the Arts. She has received numerous awards for her contributions in these areas, including two Governors Awards for the Arts and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Scott grew up on a farm in South Dakota. Her first teaching experience was at Wright School, a charming one-room country school about 14 miles south of Aberdeen. She cherishes the memories of her three years teaching the wonderful children there plus carrying water every day, starting the fires on cold winter mornings, being the janitor and playing outdoor games with the kids at noon and recess. Scott credits those years as being the spring-board for developing the courage and stamina to go on to get her college degree, something many farm girls didn’t do in those days. Scott graduated from San Jose State in 1953 and decided to go to Alaska to teach rather than go to Venezuela – as some of her friends were doing. She accepted a teaching position in Fairbanks primarily because at that time, Fairbanks was the only community in Alaska that had the University.

Scott has always had creative ideas for youth. In addition to teaching in the public schools in Fairbanks, she founded Fairbanks’ first educational pre-school (1962) and a Jr. High fine arts camp (1976) held in the Scott’s yard.

Then in 1980, Scott realized her dream of establishing a study-performance arts festival in Fairbanks. She called on her friend, Eddie Madden (Boston) who knew the talented musicians to invite and the classes and concerts to offer. This event came to be known as the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival which is produced in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Scott has received many honors over the last 30 years. To name a few: Two Governor’s Awards for the Arts; an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks; and this year, she is honored to be inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. She retired last summer after 30 successful seasons of producing the Festival. She is happy to help her long-time friend, Terese Kaptur in any way she can as Terese leads the Festival onward with her own creative ideas.

Dick and Jo have three children: Julie Scott and her husband, John Ryer; Bryan and his wife Lyn Collaton and their son, Ayden; and their youngest daughter, Shirley Scott. We will remember Shirley’s son, Benji, who passed away three years ago.



Photo of Mary Taylor “Tay” Pryor Thomas

Mary Taylor “Tay” Pryor Thomas

19272014
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Journalism

Telling the story of life in Alaska, Tay Thomas is the author of eight books, including Free from Fear and An Angel on His Wing, and of many articles appearing in such magazines as National Geographic. In addition, she is a founder of F.I.S.H. (Fellowship in Serving Humanity), a food distribution agency.

A community and church activist, Tay is also a philanthropist, contributing monetarily and through personal service to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Anchorage Museum  at Rasmuson Center, YWCA Anchorage, Alaska Conservation Society, and Alaska Pacific University.  A role model for women and girls, she is known for her generosity of spirit and willingness to help others, as well as her dedication and loyalty to the people in her life and to enterprises that appeal to her values.  Tay’s calmness, perhaps shaped by events of the 1964 earthquake that she wrote about in Free from Fear and her ability to mediate differences within contentious situations, make her a rock in whatever situation confronts her.

Tay married Lowell Thomas, Jr. in 1950 and they and their two children moved to Alaska in 1960. She served two terms on the Anchorage School Board from 1968 to 1974.  Her husband became Lt. Governor of Alaska in 1975 serving one four-year term.

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19272014
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Journalism

Telling the story of life in Alaska, Tay Thomas is the author of eight books, including Free from Fear and An Angel on His Wing, and of many articles appearing in such magazines as National Geographic. In addition, she is a founder of F.I.S.H. (Fellowship in Serving Humanity), a food distribution agency.

A community and church activist, Tay is also a philanthropist, contributing monetarily and through personal service to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Anchorage Museum  at Rasmuson Center, YWCA Anchorage, Alaska Conservation Society, and Alaska Pacific University.  A role model for women and girls, she is known for her generosity of spirit and willingness to help others, as well as her dedication and loyalty to the people in her life and to enterprises that appeal to her values.  Tay’s calmness, perhaps shaped by events of the 1964 earthquake that she wrote about in Free from Fear and her ability to mediate differences within contentious situations, make her a rock in whatever situation confronts her.

Tay married Lowell Thomas, Jr. in 1950 and they and their two children moved to Alaska in 1960. She served two terms on the Anchorage School Board from 1968 to 1974.  Her husband became Lt. Governor of Alaska in 1975 serving one four-year term.



Photo of Peg Tileston

Peg Tileston

1931
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Conservation

Peg was raised in Indiana, graduated from Earlham College and has participated in continuing education at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Ever since Peg’s arrival in Alaska in 1972, whenever an important conservation or community issue has arisen, she has become involved by helping to establish the needed organization and then serving as a volunteer, director, chair or advisor.  Such organizations include: Alaska Common Ground; Trustees for Alaska; Alaska Center for the Environment; Alaska Women’s Environmental Network and the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Additionally, she has served on a variety of boards such as: Chugach Electric Association, Anchorage Parks and Recreation Council, Alaska Conservation Voters, Commonwealth North Permanent Fund Study Group, and the Anchorage Recycling Task Force. Peg has been appointed to several gubernatorial advisory committees.

Major awards received include Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement; YWCA Woman of Achievement; Who’s Who of American Women, and in May 2009 an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from UAA. Additionally, in recognition of Peg’s and her husband’s (Jules) contributions, the Alaska Conservation Alliance and the Resource Development Council jointly created the “Tileston Award” to honor environmentally responsible resource development.

Perhaps Peg’s greatest and most enduring influence will prove to be her role as a mentor to young women leaders: she identifies a promising leader, mentors her to a professional path and then treats her as a colleague.

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1931
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Conservation

Peg was raised in Indiana, received her college education at Earlham College and has participated in Continuing Education in Political Science and History at UAA.

Peg arrived in Alaska in 1972 with husband Jules and three daughters.  Ever since, she has engaged in a variety of important Alaskan and community issues in meaningful and substantial ways. Peg helped establish a number of organizations, and then continued her  involvement by serving as a volunteer, director, chair or advisor. She co-founded, and helped govern, such organizations as: Alaska Common  Ground; Trustees for Alaska; Alaska Center for the Environment; Alaska Women’s Environmental Network (1994), and the Alaska Conservation Foundation. Additionally, she has served as a director and/or officer of a number of community organizations including: Chugach Electric association; Anchorage Parks and Recreation Council; Alaska Conservation Alliance; Alaska Conservation Voters; Commonwealth North Fund Permanent Committee, Alaskans for Better Media and the Anchorage Recycling Task Force. Peg has served in an advisory capacity to the governor through appointments to the Alaska Highway Natural Gas Policy Council and Alaska Water Resources Board.  In 1980-83, she served on the National Board of Directors of the Sierra Club.

The University of Alaska Anchorage, in granting Peg an Honorary Doctorate of Laws, May, 2009, accurately summarized the multiple  contributions this community activist has made in shaping Alaska, by awarding the degree “…in recognition of her dedication to conserving the beauty and resources of this Great Land, as well as encouraging all Alaskans to engage in respectful dialogue on issues of importance to them”.   Peg currently manages the “What’s Up” environmental list serve which provides a weekly summary of pending environmental actions and  meetings throughout the state in which the public can participate. She is the President of Tileston & Associates.

In recognition of her activism on behalf of environmental and community issues, Peg has received a variety of honors such as: the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alaska Conservation Foundation (2004); the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award (1998); Alaska Public Interest Research Group Award; inclusion in Who’s Who of American Women and the Feinstone Environmental Award (1995). In an unusual twist, Peg and husband Jules have been honored, for their individual contributions, by the Alaska Conservation Alliance and the Resource Development Cuncil through the creation of the “Tileston Award”, given jointly by these two organizations to honor an individual, organization or business “that create solutions advancing both environmental and development goals”.

In addition to the lasting contribution Peg has made through her leadership roles in a variety of community organizations, perhaps her greatest and most enduring influence will prove to be her role as mentor to young women leaders. One such young woman summarized her experience by stating that Peg was able to “identify young women leaders and then mentor them into professional paths.  She has kept a watch on these young leaders and then maintained relationships with them as a colleague, something that is difficult for many people of  her experience and involvement”.



Photo of Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” Tower, M.D.

Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” Tower, M.D.

19262010
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Health Care

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Tower graduated from medical school in 1951 and moved to Anchorage in 1954. She worked for 25 years for the Alaska Division of Public Health. As a public health physician, Dr. Tower directed a major program to combat hepatitis. During her early years in Anchorage she set up an office in her home to attend to the medical needs of prostitutes.

After retiring in 1986, she began researching and writing about prominent people in Alaska’s history including biographies of Sheldon Jackson, Austin E. “Cap” Lathrop and William Egan. Her work has provided other authors, such as Edna Ferber and Rex Beach, with back stories and inspiration for some of the colorful, real-life personalities appearing in their fiction. She has also written a guide to skiing in Alaska, several prize-winning magazine articles, a book, Icebound Empire, a history of the Kennecott Copper Company that earned her the award Historian of the Year from the Alaska Historical Society in 1996. While raising three children who have all settled in Alaska she led an active professional career and traveled widely in the Bush. She is past president of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage and an active member of the Cook Inlet Historical Society. She holds a pilot’s license and is a talented artist.

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19262010
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Health Care

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Tower graduated from medical school in 1951 and moved to Anchorage in 1954. She worked for 25 years for the Alaska Division of Public Health. As a public health physician, Dr. Tower directed a major program to combat hepatitis. During her early years in Anchorage she set up an office in her home to attend to the medical needs of prostitutes.

After retiring in 1986, she began researching and writing about prominent people in Alaska’s history including biographies of Sheldon Jackson, Austin E. “Cap” Lathrop and William Egan. Her work has provided other authors, such as Edna Ferber and Rex Beach, with back stories and inspiration for some of the colorful, real-life personalities appearing in their fiction. She has also written a guide to skiing in Alaska, several prize-winning magazine articles, a book, Icebound Empire, a history of the Kennecott Copper Company that earned her the award Historian of the Year from the Alaska Historical Society in 1996. While raising three children who have all settled in Alaska she led an active professional career and traveled widely in the Bush. She is past president of the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage and an active member of the Cook Inlet Historical Society. She holds a pilot’s license and is a talented artist.



Photo of Virginia “Ginny” Hill Wood

Virginia “Ginny” Hill Wood

19172013
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Conservation

Ginny landed (literally) in Alaska on New Year’s Day, 1947, by ferrying a plane to Fairbanks.  During WW II she ferried military planes hroughout the country as a member of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots).

In 1952, she co-founded Camp Denali, initiating eco-tourism in Alaska, with her husband, Morton Wood, and friend, Celia Hunter and operated it until 1975. In 1960 she helped organize the Alaska Conservation Society in Fairbanks to present an authentic Alaskan voice on conservation issues. Ginny was heavily involved in the D-2 land selections and in campaigns to stop Project Chariot and the Rampart Dam.

Ginny’s written and spoken testimony at the local, state and national levels contributed to the creation of the Alaska  National Wildlife Range now Refuge) and the on-going efforts to protect it from drilling. She helped found the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and was its long-time newsletter columnist.

Major honors received: the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award, 1991 and the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, 2001.

Ginny has been a committed, persistent, eloquent voice for conservation values and environmental issues. In 2001, Former Governor Jay Hammond called her (and  Celia) “the grand dames of the environmental movement”. She has  inspired legions of young women seeking a home in Alaska through her independent lifestyle and advocacy for conservation values.

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19172013
Categories: 2010 Alumnae, Conservation

Ginny landed, literally, in Alaska on a very cold New Year’s Day 1947. She had learned to fly through the Civil Pilot Training Program in college, and was ferrying a war-surplus plane to Fairbanks. During World War II, she enrolled in the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) and ferried all types of military planes throughout the lower 48 states. Soon after her arrival in Alaska, she started to fly tourists from Fairbanks to Kotzebue.

In 1952, she co-founded Camp Denali, which initiated eco-tourism in Alaska, with husband Morton Wood and friend, Celia Hunter. Ginny and Celia operated Camp Denali until 1975. In 1960, she helped organized the Alaska Conservation Foundation in Fairbanks to present an authentic Alaska voice on conservation issues. Ginny’s written and spoken testimony on the local, state and national levels contributed to the successful effort to establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (initially Range) and the continuing efforts to preserve it as wilderness. She was deeply involved in the d-2 land selections and in campaigns to stop Project Chariot, the Rampart Dam and other projects which would destroy Alaska’s wild places. She was a founding member of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and a longtime columnist for its newsletter.

Ginny received many honors, among them the Sierra Club’s highest award, the John Muir Award in 1991 and the Alaska Conservation Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. On the occasion of the latter award, former Gov. Jay Hammond called her and Celia “the grand dames of the environmental movement.” In 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded its Service Citizen’s Award to Ginny. In making the award, the acting director of the Fish and Wildlife Service cited her “remarkable foresight”, which led to “Alaska’s most treasured places (remaining) untrammeled.” In 2009, Congress awarded its Congressional Gold Medal of Honor to the 300 or so surviving WASPs, the first time their wartime service had been recognized and honored on a national level. In 2002, she had received the Alaska-Siberia Lend-Lease Award for her flying efforts during World War II.

Ginny was a committed, persistent, eloquent voice for conservation values and environmental issues in Alaska. She was not afraid to speak for those values in the face of hostile opposition. She did her homework. She was an eloquent writer. Her independent lifestyle, from building cabins, flying in the bush, guiding in the Brooks Range and ANWR, combined with her advocacy for wilderness values, has inspired and served as a role model for legions of women.

Perhaps this statement from her congressional committee testimony in support of creating the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960 best summarizes Ginny’s values and foresight: “The wilderness that we have conquered and squandered in our conquest of new lands has produced the traditions of the pioneer that we want to think still prevail: freedom, opportunity, adventure, and resourceful, rugged individuals. These qualities can still be nurtured in generations of the future if we are farsighted and wise enough to set aside this wild country immediately, and spare it from the exploitations of a few for the lasting benefit of the many.”

Additional Resources:
Kaye, Roger. Last Great Wilderness: The Campaign to Establish the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press, 2006.
Miller, Debbie S. Midnight Wilderness. Portland, Oregon: Alaska Northwest Books, 2000.
Ross, Ken. Environmental Conflict in Alaska. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2000.