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Class of 2011

Pictured: (Back L-R) Patricia B. Wolf, Caroline Wohlforth, Lael Morgan, Joerene Hout (Front L-R) Lanie Fleischer,  Clare Swan, Elaine Abraham

Not pictured: Katharine “Kit” Crittenden, Betti Cuddy, Ruth Elin Hall Ost, Leah Webster Peterson, Martha M. Roderick, Helen Stoddard Whaley, 

Photo of Elaine Abraham

Elaine Abraham

1929 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Health, Science

Elaine was the first Tlingit registered nurse in Alaska. During her career, she worked for the Indian Health Service in Juneau, Mt. Edgecumbe School in Sitka, and in Bethel during diphtheria and tuberculosis epidemics. She also was instrumental in the creation of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage in 1954.  In her education career Elaine played a major role in the expansion of rural educational opportunities.  She co-founded the Alaska Native Language Center, created programs to recruit and retain Alaska Native students in higher education, and, as Vice-President for Rural Educational Affairs of the University Alaska, she was instrumental in initiating campuses in Nome, Barrow, Tanana, Kotzebue, Sitka, Ketchikan, Valdez, the Aleutians, and Kodiak. In 1976, Elaine became the Vice President for Rural Education Affairs of the University of Alaska statewide system — she was the first Native American and the first woman to hold a senior position in the statewide administration.  Elaine currently serves as the Chair of the Alaska Native Science Commission, which supports scientific research that ensures the protection of indigenous cultures and builds bridges between Western science and traditional ways of knowing.

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1929 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Health, Science

Elaine was born in Yakutat of the Raven moiety, the clan of Copper River, and from the Shaman’s Owl House, and is the daughter of the Brown Bear. Mount St. Elias is her clan crest. Her mother was Susie Bremmer, whose grandfather was John James Bremmer from Scotland, the guide for Lt. Allen who explored the Copper River area. Because of his assistance with mapping, Bremmer river, valley, glacier and mine were named in Bremmer’s honor. Elaine’s father was a Tlingit chief from Yakutat from the Brown Bear moiety. Her mother read to the children from the bible and her father introduced them to the world through National Geographic magazines.

Yakutat did not have a high school, so Elaine went to boarding school at Sheldon Jackson High School/ College. After graduation, she went to the school of nursing at Ganado, Ariz., graduated and returned to Alaska as the first Tlingit registered nurse. She worked with the Indian Health Service in Bethel and Sitka during diphtheria and tuberculosis epidemics.  While working in Sitka, she served as the school board president during the desegregation of the village school; established the Southeast Alaska Native Health Aide Program — which became the model for the statewide Alaska Native Health Aide Program — and organized the Southeast Native Board of Health. Later, Elaine was instrumental in the creation of the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

After her career as a nurse, Elaine initiated her career in education at Sheldon Jackson University and the University of Alaska. She earned a bachelor’s degree in human resources development from Alaska Pacific University;  a master of arts in teaching from APU; and is currently a doctoral student pursuing a a degree in natural health. At Sheldon Jackson College, she served as Associate Dean of Students, Director of Social Services, and Vice President for Institutional Development. At the University of Alaska, she co-founded the Alaska Native Language Center. In 1976 Elaine became the Vice President for Rural Education Affairs of the University of Alaska statewide system— she was both the first Native American and the first woman to hold a senior position in the statewide administration. She created innovative programs for recruiting and retaining Alaska Native students in higher education and made path-breaking initiatives to build bridges between Alaska Native communities and the university. She brought new educational opportunities to Alaskans throughout the state by establishing community colleges in Nome, Barrow, Tanana, Kotzebue, Sitka, Ketchikan, Valdez, Aleutians, and Kodiak.

Currently, Elaine is building bridges between Alaska Natives and scientists, promoting cutting-edge approaches to understanding climate change around the globe as the chair of the Alaska Native Science Commission. The commission supports scientific research that ensures the protection of indigenous cultures and builds bridges between western science and traditional ways of knowing.

Throughout Elaine’s life, she has understood the relationship between the local and the global and she is respected and influential on village, state, national, and international levels. Her messages have global significance and have helped garner respect for indigenous knowledge and the rights of indigenous peoples. While Elaine’s impact has been global and her accomplishments numerous, they only tell part of the story. She is slight in stature but when Elaine speaks, she captivates her listeners with her messages, her humility and her enthusiasm. Forever looking for opportunities to broaden her own knowledge, Elaine has traveled to far-flung places to meet with indigenous peoples in their native lands to help them and exchange teachings. She has helped many people see that traditional observations are critically important to western scientific analysis.

Elaine is a mentor and role model because she lives her life according to her own teachings, whether she is interacting with her own family or serving, sometimes as the only woman, on a commission or board. Elaine could be described as:

  • respectful, honest, kind, intelligent, humble, witty;
  • an individual with strong character who stands up for her convictions;
  • applying her positive attributes to professional and personal relationships;
  • a role model who has demonstrated that you are never too old to expand your own knowledge base by learning from others
  • a woman of valor who is generous with her knowledge and compassion toward others.

She is well known throughout the world as a revered Tlingit elder. She is the recipient of the American Indian Achievement Award, Indian Council Fire (1973). Elaine was the first Alaska Native and the seventh American Indian woman to receive this award. It was the only award of national stature given to an American Indian. She also received the Meritorious Service Award, University of Alaska Anchorage (1996): Citizen of the Year Award, Cook Inlet Native Association (1984); Alaska Native/American Indian Education Advocate Award, Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee (1978); State of Alaska Distinguished Alaskan Title (1974).

 

Additional Resources:
http://www.nativescience.org.html/abraham.html
http://www.pbs.org/harriman/explog/lectures/abraham.html
http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/advancement/projects/upload/Past-Meritorious-Service-Award-Recipients-Bios.pdf

 



Photo of Katharine “Kit” Crittenden

Katharine “Kit” Crittenden

19212010 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Historic Preservation, Parks, Urban Beautification

Kit lived in Anchorage from 1949-2010.  She changed the face of the community by bringing people together around the ideas of beautification and preservation.

This mother of six children will be remembered for her role in the creation of the Chester Creek Greenbelt, the preservation of the Oscar Anderson House at Elderberry Park, establishing the Urban Design Commission, and creating the Anchorage Historic Preservation Commission, which she chaired for ten years.  In 2001 she authored “GetMears! Frederick Mears: Builder of the Alaska Railroad”, a nationally recognized biography of Col. Frederick Mears, who supervised the construction of the Alaska Railroad and was also responsible for the planning and design of the townsite that became Anchorage. In 1990 Kit was responsible for the community effort to preserve Second Avenue buildings, which were laid out by Mears in 1915.

Kit’s significant efforts brought the people of Anchorage to value the community’s beauty and history.  Kit was a pioneer for community involvement.  Her accomplishments show that with a strong vision, tempered speech and firm persistence, a voice for beautification and preservation can be heard.  Kit Crittenden made Anchorage a better place to live.

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19212010 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Historic Preservation, Parks, Urban Beautification

As the eldest child of the Rev. Ralph Carson and the granddaughter of another Baptist minister, Kit was inspired by the power of their sermons. When Kit was in high school, her family settled into Bloomington, Ill., — a community with old oaks, beautiful buildings and a strong history. Kit was a successful student, following the model of her family. She excelled in speech and drama, and was a star in many of the college theater productions at Illinois Wesleyan, her alma mater. Clearly, she was inspired not only by the skillful speech she saw in her father’s sermons but by the commitment to community which her parents instilled in their children. With the tenor and strength of her father’s sermons as a backdrop, Kit employed her voice and stage skill to move mountains, including giving testimony for statehood before Congress, and testifying before the Anchorage City Council on many community causes.

As a young college graduate, Kit traveled to Ketchikan, Alaska, to visit a childhood friend who had married a coast guardsman stationed there. In Ketchikan she was asked to do a radio show for “shut ins”, using her voice as an inspiration to others. Short months after arriving, she met Edwin Crittenden, a young Coast Guard lieutenant. They were married within the year. After World War II, the couple returned to “the states”, but their love of Alaska brought them back to Anchorage in 1949. They raised their family of six children and numerous Irish setters in the home Ed designed for them below 15th and F Streets. It was this union of Kit, Ed and Alaska that provided the background for her achievements. Kit was awed by the physical beauty of Alaska. Married to an architect, they were committed to bringing the beauty of the physical world to the growing city of Anchorage. This was to be the basis from which she was able to inspire community leaders to see what Anchorage could be: a city beautiful enough to “match its mountains”.

In the KSKA “Forget-me-Not” interview Kit provided, she describes how she was able to use her vision and speaking skills to persuade city officials to redesign the proposed expansion of C Street – elevating it to pass over the Chester Creek greenbelt instead of bisecting the land with a large road.

“I could see that we had to have more trails, so I began to make the case to citizens and leaders from all over town. We could not have the children and bikers walking up and over C Street with cars rushing by; we needed an underpass for safe trails. As I spoke with people, they would say, ‘I believe in that, I will vote for that, we WILL have that!’ Soon, we formed the Citizens Committee to Save Chester Creek Greenbelt Park, and our group was able to win our case in court. At the time, the city manager said, ‘If we are going to have pedestrian underpasses at C Street, we are then going to do it for all the roads that are built over the Chester Creek greenbelt’.

Never paid for her work, Kit devoted endless hours to inspiring Anchorage mayors and other elected officials to envision the beautification of Anchorage as well as the preservation of its historic buildings through wise planning and development. Historic preservation of a community that was only 50 years old was a radical notion in 1970. In 1974, the late Lucy Cuddy wrote: “New York has Ada Louise (Huxtable, then-architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal and outspoken advocate for preservation of New York’s historic landmarks); Anchorage boasts Kit. We are proud!

Kit will be remembered for her role in the creation of the Chester Creek greenbelt, as well as the preservation of the Oscar Anderson House at Elderberry Park, establishing the Urban Design Commission and the Anchorage Historic Preservation Commission, which she chaired for ten years. Most recently, she authored “Get Mears!” a nationally recognized biography of Col. Frederick Mears, who supervised the construction of the Alaska Railroad. He was also responsible for the planning and the design of the town site that became Anchorage. Kit’s significant efforts all carried the honorable objective of bringing the people of Anchorage to a sense of our community’s beauty and history. Whether providing testimony to Congress for statehood or arguing for the preservation of historic homes, Kit had a vision that was infectious. With her skills and tenacity, she inspired us to work toward a community that celebrates its beauty as well as its past. Kit was a pioneer for community involvement. Her accomplishments show that with a strong vision, tempered speech and firm persistence, a voice for beautification and preservation can be heard. Kit Crittenden made Anchorage a better place to live.

Created from her family’s personal memories and experiences.

 



Photo of Betti Cuddy

Betti Cuddy

19242010 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Organizing, Philanthropy

An adventurous Betty Jane Puckett (she later became known as Betti) left her home in a small Nebraska town in the early 1940s, met and married her life-long partner Dan Cuddy in Seattle, then spent her honeymoon driving the new Alaska Highway north. Her community leadership began when she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader in Anchorage. She held a seat on the organizational committee for Alaska Methodist University, now Alaska Pacific University. In the 1960s, she organized the Treasures of Sight and Sound (TOSS), the predecessor to the Community Schools Program. Through TOSS, Anchorage children received instruction in gymnastics, music, singing and many other theater activities. The Greater Anchorage Chamber of Commerce awarded a Gold Pan Award to TOSS in recognition of Betti’s work.

Betti Cuddy sat on the State Board of Education in the late 1970s, and served as a board member of Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and that group’s Symphony Committee. She served as secretary/treasurer of the Anchorage Women’s Club, and helped form that organization’s FREE committee, a women’s only political advocacy effort in the 1970s. Betti was named honorary chairwoman of the YWCA Anchorage Academy of Woman Achievers. She played a major role in the renovation of the Lucy Cuddy Center on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and helped develop a renewed focus for the culinary arts and hospitality programs. In her most recent years, Betti was a supporter of the Cuddy Family Midtown Park near the Loussac Library in Anchorage. When completed, the park will include a covered stage and seating area for outdoor theatrical venues.

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19242010 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Organizing, Philanthropy

Betty Jane Puckett (later spelling her name Betti) was born July 21, 1924, in O’Neill, Neb., to Fay and Nellie Puckett, grew up in Nebraska and earned a liberal arts degree from Doan University. The consummate educator, Betti started out teaching high school biology, English and Spanish. In the early 1940s, she pulled up her Nebraska roots and moved to Seattle to take on a new career in banking at the Bank of California. It was while living in Seattle, that she met the love of her life Alaska attorney Dan Cuddy, on a blind date, and that blind date wove into a marriage that lasted 62 years – from 1948 until her death in 2010. The Cuddys spent their honeymoon on the new Alaska Highway making their way home.

Betti’s community leadership in Alaska began in the 1950s when she was a young mother, and she volunteered as a Girl Scout leader and secretary/treasurer of the Anchorage Women’s Club. She then held a seat on the organizational committee for what became Alaska Pacific University.

An advocate for well rounded education, Betti organized the Treasures of Sight and Sound (TOSS) in the 1960s. TOSS was the self-funded predecessor to the Community Schools Program, which paved the way for local theater productions. For almost six decades, Anchorage children who’ve turned a cartwheel, played an instrument, sang a song or acted out a scene on stage can thank Betti Cuddy for the chance to do so. She and the program received a Gold Pan Award from the Greater Anchorage Chamber of Commerce in 1972. “I just thought the schools should be teaching more than the ‘three Rs’,” Betti said.  After Community Schools took over from TOSS, Betti became a prolific patron of the Anchorage arts, especially the theater. She became a board member for the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and that group’s Symphony Committee.

During the late 1970s, Betti sat on the State Board of Education, and continued to be a prolific patron of Anchorage arts, especially the theater. She served as a board member of Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and that group’s Symphony Committee. A lifetime member or the Anchorage Women’s Club, she helped form the organization’s FREE Committee, a grass-roots women’s only political advocacy effort in the 1970s. Cuddy was named honorary chairwoman of the YWCA Anchorage Academy of Woman Achievers. At the university level, Betti played a major role in the renovation of the Lucy Cuddy Center on the University of Alaska Anchorage campus and helped develop a renewed focus for the university’s culinary arts and hospitality programs through remodeling the facility and retooling the curriculum. “She was an ardent supporter of UAA’s Lucy Cuddy Hall and a tremendous fan of the Culinary Arts, Hospitality, Dietetics and Nutrition Program,” said Tim Doebler, the program’s UAA Director. “She will be greatly missed and her kindness will always be remembered. This program and facility would not be what it is today if it hadn’t been for her. I feel like I’ve lost a co-worker.”

In her most recent years, Betti Cuddy was a supporter of the Cuddy Family Midtown Park near the Loussac Library in Anchorage. When completed, the park will include a covered stage and seating area for outdoor theatrical venues, amenities Betti felt were important to encourage community performances. In honor of her efforts as a supporter, a landscaped area of the park was designated “Betti’s garden.” On Aug. 16, 2001, one of Cuddy’s granddaughters was killed by a drunk driver. In the aftermath, Cuddy devoted herself to battling alcohol abuse by facilitating communication between parents and children on the subject. Above all of Betti Cuddy’s community activities, however, she considered her most important role was as a wife to Dan, and mother to their six children: Betsy (David) Lawer, David (Kathy) Cuddy, Gretchen Cuddy, Jane (Gary) Klopfer, Lucy (Mark) Mahan, and Laurel (Fred) Stutzer.

Many believed Betti’s greatest strength was her unusual ability to organize people and get them moving in the same direction. She consistently displayed this ability throughout a lifetime of service in Alaska, and she instilled her views on community service in all her children.

Betti Cuddy impressed everyone with initiative and a take-action approach to address problems or fill needs she witnessed in the community. When she saw something she thought needed to be done, she did something about it. Betti was always reluctant to “toot her own horn.” But her forthrightness and willingness to sacrifice her own time and money provided a great example of community involvement to countless women.

 

References
http://www.fnbalaska.com/44.cfm?id=173Obituary
http://www.adn.com/2010/01/13/1092462/arts-patron-education-leader-betti.html – Obituary
http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_story/5554466/article-Anchorage-arts-patron-Betti-Cuddy-dead-at-85 — Obituary

 



Photo of Nan Elaine (Lanie) Fleischer

Nan Elaine (Lanie) Fleischer

1938 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Activism

Incredulous that Anchorage had no system of trails in 1971, much less sidewalks or shoulders to walk on, Lanie persuaded her friends to form the Bike Day Committee to advocate for a trail system. Her vision was to have a system that would connect schools with libraries and parks so that children could travel the city without having to be driven. She organized a “bike in” and 300 people participated. Amazed and inspired by that turnout, Lanie and committee members started organizing efforts that culminated in the passage of a bond issue in 1973 to finance the first trail along Chester Creek. Lanie, considered the “Mother of the Trail System,” was recognized and honored by the mayor and assembly in 1994 when it named that trail the “Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek Trail”.  Her vision, determination and leadership has led to what many now consider to be a world-class trail system.

Lanie has helped to build Anchorage in other ways as well. She organized the original eight community councils and created the Federation of Community Councils; founded and fostered the downtown Saturday Market; worked to create an optional school choice; helped develop the park system; and served on the Town Square Advisory Committee. She worked for 15-years for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Anchorage. Governors Hammond and Knowles appointed her to various state boards and commissions.

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1938 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Activism

Lanie moved to Anchorage in 1971 from Washington, D.C., where she had enjoyed exploring the area by bicycle. She was astonished to find that Anchorage had no trail system that would allow residents to connect with the outdoors, explore the greenbelts or view the mountains. Her vision was a trail system that would connect children to schools, parks and libraries without having to be driven. When three hundred enthusiastic people turned out for the “bike in” event she organized, Lanie and the Bike Committee went to work. In 1973, the group succeeded in getting a bond issue passed to finance construction of Anchorage’s first paved trail, the four-mile Chester Creek Trail.

Lanie has been an activist in a myriad of local and statewide issues. She considers her work on the Anchorage Citizens Committee for Goals and Objectives for the Comprehensive Plan in 1973 to be some of the most important work she has undertaken. She was one of the original volunteer staff, and, later, board member of the Alaska Center for the Environment; president, Parks and Recreation Council of Anchorage, 1972-78; Parks and Recreation Commission, 1981-85; on the original KSKA Board, 1978-81; organized the original eight community councils and created the Federation of Community Councils; member of the Town Square Advisory Committee (after successfully fighting to save Town Square Park); founder of the downtown Anchorage Saturday Market and Market Master for three years; helped start the optional school choice program and served on the parents’ committee for Chugach Optional School. Lainie also served on the Performing Arts Center Board of Directors; South Addition Community Council member and president; ACLU Board of Directors; and on the citizens committee to develop the master plan for the Park Strip. Gov. Hammond appointed her to the State Growth Policy Council and the State Investment Advisory Board (which drew up the legislation creating the Permanent Fund). Gov. Knowles appointed her to the TRAAK (Trails and Recreational Access for Alaska) Board and, in 1995, appointed her to be chair. She was also appointed to the Statewide Charitable Gaming Task Force to advise on regulations for this industry. Lanie currently serves on the Task Force, Anchorage Veteran’s Memorial Committee and continues to be active in the South Addition Community Council.

Lanie raised three children in Anchorage. Over the years, she has used the trail system as a skier, runner, biker, hiker and even as a roller blader. In her professional life, she was the executive director, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Anchorage, 1990-2005.

Lanie, considered to be the “Mother of the Trail System,” was recognized and honored by the mayor and assembly in 1994 when it named that initial trail the “Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek Trail”. For her civic work, she has received a number of awards, including the Woman of Achievement, Anchorage YWCA; Ethics Award, East Anchorage Rotary; Woman of Distinction, Soroptimists International of Anchorage; State Senate citation for initiating a world-class trail system; and Jay Rabinowitz Public Service Award, Alaska Bar Association.

Lanie’s sense of civic responsibility and involvement sets a standard for activists throughout Alaska. Reflecting on her experience, she advises that if you speak up with a good idea, others will join in; you need not be an expert to make a meaningful contribution; to be a leader means that you must have followers. Lanie knew her vision had been realized when she heard two young boys playing in Goose Lake say “we just saw this trail and followed it; we never knew there was a lake here.”



Photo of Joerene Savikko Hout

Joerene Savikko Hout

1934 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Advocacy, Education, Health Care

Born in Juneau to parents who were teachers in the winter and fished commercially in the summer, Joerene Savikko Hout’s elementary and high school years were spent in Ketchikan. As a young girl, Joerene observed differences in health care and social acceptance. Some were allowed to attend the Ketchikan public schools and others had to attend the Indian school.

Becoming a Public Health nurse, Joerene was determined to be a catalyst for change in how Native people were treated in the public health system. When she discovered that many children were taken from their village homes for medical care by the public health service without consent forms or informing the parents of the children’s location and condition, she was determined to be the liaison to assure and secure travel rights for one parent to accompany the child. Joerene became an advocate to reconnect children with their parents. She founded the Bethel Prematernal Home to dramatically reduce the death rate of mothers and children in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.

Joerene brought creative educational programs to Alaska to assist employers in understanding needs, qualifications and modifying techniques to help men and women with disabilities do their jobs well. She chaired the Governor’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities under both Gov. Hammond and Gov. Sheffield. Between 1982 and 1984, she was secretary and chairman of the National Conference of Governors Committees on Employment of the Handicapped as well as serving on the President’s Committee in planning and the executive board.

Joerene was able to provide in-depth health care because she built very real bonds of trust with women in the community. Joerene brought laughter, news of the town, conversation and friendship with sincere respect, and reminded these women there was a world outside of their kitchens and encouraged them to join it.

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1934 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Advocacy, Education, Health Care

Born in Juneau to parents who were teachers in the winter and fished commercially in the summer, Joerene Savikko Hout’s elementary and high school years were spent in Ketchikan. When her parents were away fishing, she lived with Anna Rosenblad in the Tsimshian Indian Village. Anna, a widowed mother with seven children was instrumental in Joerene’s choice of profession. As a young girl, she observed the difference in health care and social acceptance. Three of the Rosenblad children were congenitally deaf and four had no physical disability. Some were allowed to attend the Ketchikan public schools and others had to attend the Indian school.

Achieving her B.S. in Nursing from the University of Washington in 1957, Joerene had interned at Firland’s Sanitarium in Seattle, a hospital for Native tuberculosis and special needs patients. Joerene discovered young patients who had no idea where their parents were and found they were often placed in foster homes rather than returned to their villages because of lost records and lack of communication in the health system.

Becoming a public health nurse, Joerene was determined to be a catalyst for change in how Native people were treated in the public health system. When she discovered that many children were taken from their village homes and transported to Anchorage or Seattle for medical care by the public health service without consent forms or informing the parents of the children’s location and condition, she was determined to be the liaison to assure and secure travel rights for one parent to accompany the child. Joerene became an advocate to reconnect children with parents.

Returning to Juneau in 1957, Joerene became a school nurse for Juneau-Douglas School District. As a public health nurse at Fairbanks Health Center (1961-1963), she volunteered to teach evening pre-natal classes to couples expecting their first child, and taught home care for families with a disabled family member. As the first itinerant public health nurse in Bethel (1963-1976), she founded the Bethel Prematernal Home to dramatically reduce the death rate of mothers and children in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In 1963, there were two maternal deaths each month. After the Prematernal Home was established, there were no deaths from childbirth in 10 years. In the Prematernal Home expectant mothers could stay prior to their children’s births – whether or not they had money – and receive medical care and learn to care for their babies.

Joerene brought creative educational programs to Alaska to assist employers in understanding needs, qualifications and modifying techniques to help men and women with disabilities do their jobs well. She chaired the Governor’s Committee on Employment of Persons with Disabilities under both Gov. Hammond and Gov. Sheffield. Between 1982 and 1984, she was secretary and chairman of the National Conference of Governors Committees on Employment of the Handicapped as well as serving on the President’s Committee in planning and the executive board.



Photo of Lael Morgan

Lael Morgan

1936 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Journalism

Lael began her journalism career as a reporter for the Malden, Massachusetts, Press, then moved to Alaska in 1959. She worked for Alaska Methodist University then moved into advertising. In the mid ’60s, Lael worked for a time in canneries, then was hired as a photojournalist at the Juneau Empire, covered crime, politics and the legislature for the Fairbanks Daily New Miner and Jessen’s Weekly and freelanced for the Tundra Times and other publications around the state. In 1968, Lael worked at the Los Angeles Times, then returned to Alaska for assignments with the Tundra Times, National Geographic, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Alaska Northwest Publishing.

She joined the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, University of Alaska Fairbanks, in 1988, where she taught writing, photography, and multimedia. Since 1999, Lael has been managing editor, then publisher of the Casco Bay Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Portland, Maine, and served as visiting professor at University of Texas at Arlington. Chicago Review Press has slated her book “Wanton West: Madams, Money, Murder, and the Wild Women of Montana’s Frontier” for publication in June 2011, and Epicenter Press is publishing her biography of an Inupiat Eskimo star “From Tundra to Tinseltown, The Ray Wise Mala Story”, in the spring. Although currently in Maine, Lael continues to serve as Acquisitions Editor for Epicenter Press. She also has coordinated the Ray Wise Mala Film festival in conjunction with the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Alaska Native Land Claim Settlement Act managed by the ANCSA@40 EVENTS Committee.

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1936 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Journalism

A former drama major at Emerson College in Boston, Lael swapped her stage dreams for a degree from Boston University in public relations and communications. Not content with such a mundane degree, she went on to study detective work at the Nick Harris Detective School in Los Angeles and still holds a private detective’s license with the State of California. Lael’s early career included a stint as reporter for the Malden Press in Massachusetts before she moved to Alaska in 1959. After moving into the far north, Lael worked as secretary for the founding vice president of Alaska Methodist University, became an account executive for Alaska Advertising Agency and then advertising and public relations manager for Caribou Department Stores in Anchorage. During this period, Lael also served on the board of the Anchorage YMCA, worked on CARE and United Way campaigns, helped write the Fur Rendezvous magazine, served as a judge for the Anchorage Little Theater group, and volunteered for Anchorage’s annual heart clinic for Native children. Lael also has worked for the Juneau Empire, the Fairbanks Daily News Miner and Jessen’s Weekly, while freelancing for the Tundra Times and other publications around the state. In 1968, Lael began a five-year career at the Los Angeles Times, then returned to Alaska for assignments with the Tundra Times, National Geographic, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Alaska Northwest Publishing. In 1988, Lael joined the Department of Journalism and Broadcasting, University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she taught writing, photography, and multimedia for thirteen years.

Over her career of more than five decades, Lael has spent time in Alaska’s Native villages. Working for Alaska Magazine during one three-year period, her assignment was to visit every Native village qualifying under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. Of those 220 villages, she visited all but 13. To get her stories, she went on Eskimo hunting trips to the Siberian shore, served four times on Eskimo whaling crews on the moving ice of the Chuckchi Sea and Arctic Ocean, braved exposure to grizzlies and polar bears, bitter cold, tuberculosis, and all the other extremes that Alaska Natives faced. When Lael first came to Alaska, virtually no newspaper in the state would carry news of its indigenous people. She became focused on their problems and their future. Although she never thought she would see an equitable settlement in her lifetime, she began covering the Alaska Native Land Claims movement, eventually leaving a well paying job at the Los Angeles Times to work at minimum wage and less for the Eskimo/Indian/Aleut newspaper in Fairbanks. Her voice, mingled with those of other reporters who dared to risk their necks and their livelihoods by reporting what was initially a very unpopular cause, did, indeed, make a difference.

In 1971, Lael won the Best Photo Feature of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Times. The following year she won awards from Rockefeller and Alicia Patterson Foundation to fund study of Alaska Natives during a year of transition. She was winner of the Dean’s Award, College of Communication, Boston University in 1987, and a Faculty Merit Award at University of Alaska three years later. Lael has sixteen published non-fiction books, the majority of which are Alaska based. In addition, she is a partner in and acquisitions editor for Epicenter Press, Alaska’s foremost publishing company, which she founded with G. Kent Sturgis in 1988. In the 1980s, Lael was appointed to the Fish and Game Board – the first woman to ever serve on the Alaska Fish and Game Board and the first woman ever fired. Her book, “Good Time Girls of the Alaskan Yukon Gold Rush” won her the title of Historian of the Year for Alaska in 1998. “Art and Eskimo Power: The Life and Times of Alaskan Howard Rock,” a book she wrote in 1988, was recently included in a listing of the state’s best nonfiction books, and was republished by University of Alaska Press in 2010. Chicago Review Press has slated her history titled “Wanton West: Madams, Money, Murder”, and the “Wild Women of Montana’s Frontier” for publication in June of 2011, and Epicenter Press is publishing her biography of a Candle-born Inupiat, “Eskimo Star: From Tundra to Tinseltown, The Ray Wise Mala Story”, in the spring. Although currently residing in Maine, Lael remains heavily invested in Alaska where she serves as acquisitions editor for Epicenter Press. In addition, she is coordinating the Ray Wise Mala Film festival in conjunction with the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Alaska Native Land Claim Settlement Act managed by the ANCSA@40 EVENTS Committee.

 

References
http://www.amazon.com/Lael-Morgan/e/B000APLA6I
Lael Morgan Books
http://januarymagazine.com/profiles/lmorgan.htmlArticle
http://www.alaskadispatch.com/dispatches/rural-alaska/528-alaska-press-club-renames-award-in-honor-of-influential-journalistsArticle

 



Photo of Ruth Elin Hall Ost

Ruth Elin Hall Ost

18861953 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Activism, Missionary, Religion

An American-born daughter of Swedish immigrants, Ruth Elin Hall Ost grew up in the Midwest.  She married the Reverend Ludvig Evald Ost in 1910 in Wisconsin and the newlyweds moved to Nome immediately to work as missionaries for the Swedish Covenant Church.

During her years in Northwest, Ruth assisted her husband in running and managing the missions and children’s homes as well as owning and operating several businesses, including a reindeer herd and gold mine. She was a gifted musician and taught music, instruments and voice to many children in the area. She served as correspondent and bookkeeper and conducted a correspondence school for the Sunday school and Bible school teachers in the Alaska district for the Church.  She also provided midwifery services and lost only one baby.

Ruth helped establish sound educational facilities and good health-care practices in regions of Alaska that had none.  Her efforts to get territorial schools opened in rural Alaska communities have had lasting benefit for generations of Alaskans.

Tay Thomas wrote in Cry in the Wilderness: “Mrs. Ost was a remarkable woman who was credited with much of the success of the Covenant Church Mission in Northwest Alaska.”  From an early age, she had crippling arthritis. Upon her death, the executive secretary of the Covenant World Missions wrote, “Her wheelchair was an altar where those who came found salvation, restoration, healing and comfort.”

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18861953 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Activism, Missionary, Religion

An American-born daughter of Swedish immigrants, Ruth Elin Hall grew up in the Midwest. She married the Reverend Ludvig Evald Ost July 18, 1910, in Ashland, Wis., and the newlyweds arrived in Nome August 1st to work as missionaries for the Swedish Covenant Church.

From Nome, the Osts traveled to Golovin to run the Swedish Covenant Mission and Children’s Home. Three years later, a major storm destroyed most of the mission station and they relocated and helped found the town of Elim. With her husband’s help, Ruth persisted in keeping Elim quarantined from the outside world to prevent the deadly influenza from infecting the people of Elim in 1918.

During her years in Northwest Alaska (Golovin, Unalakleet, White Mountain, Council and Nome), Ruth ably assisted her husband in running and managing missions and children’s homes. She was a gifted musician who taught music, instruments and voice to many of the children in the children’s homes and the villages. She was a Sunday school director, a storekeeper, and a postmistress while raising her own eight children and one adopted daughter. Ruth provided midwifery services and lost only one baby, a remarkable record considering the many times she was the only medical person available.

Ruth served as correspondent and bookkeeper for the mission, and conducted a correspondence school for the Sunday school and Bible school teachers in the entire Alaska district for the Covenant Church. Tay Thomas wrote in Cry in the Wilderness: “Mrs. Ost was a remarkable woman who was credited with much of the success of the Covenant Church Mission in Northwest Alaska.” From an early age, Ruth had crippling arthritis. Upon her death, the executive secretary of the Covenant World Missions wrote, “Her wheelchair was an altar where those who came found salvation, restoration, healing and comfort.”

She and her husband owned and operated several businesses, including a reindeer herd and gold mine. They had a store and river-freighting and transportation service on the Niukluk River.

Ruth helped establish sound educational facilities and good health-care practices in regions of Alaska that had none. Her efforts to get territorial schools opened in rural Alaska communities have had lasting benefits for generations of Alaskans.



Photo of Leah Webster Peterson

Leah Webster Peterson

19082007 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Anchorage Pioneer, Art, Education

In 1939, Leah and her husband Chester arrived by steamer at Karluk village on Kodiak Island to accept teaching positions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They were the first teachers in the village for many years and as such were made very welcome.  In 1941 they moved to Anchorage where she taught in the only school, Anchorage Territorial, as one of 43 teachers staffing all levels of education from elementary through senior high school.

Leah remained in the Anchorage school system for 42 years, serving in many positions from classroom teacher to curriculum coordinator.  Leah was a passionate educator and eventually became the first female principal in Alaska.  Leah was voted Teacher of the Year in 1948. She published, “This is Alaska”, a social science text and workbook for third and fourth grades that was adopted by the State of Alaska in 1959.

Leah gave of herself, time after time, in service to the profession of education, her community and society at large.  After retirement, Leah continued in public service as president of a number of retired teachers’ associations, member of the State Board of Retirement and she was, for more than 30 years, on the Board of Trustees for Alaska Pacific University.

Leah was a pioneer of education in Alaska, helping build an educational system from frontier instruction to a solid educational organization.  She devoted her life to the service of others, remaining young at heart while mentoring, counseling and attracting admirers of all ages.

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19082007 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Anchorage Pioneer, Art, Education

In 1939 Leah and her husband Chester arrived by steamer at Karluk village on Kodiak Island to accept teaching positions with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They were the first teachers in the village for many years and as such were made very welcome. In 1941 they moved to Anchorage where she taught in the only school, Anchorage Territorial, as one of 43 teachers staffing all levels of education from elementary through senior high school. Leah remained in the Anchorage school system fulfilling 42 years of professional service as a classroom teacher, remedial reading specialist, supervisor, curriculum coordinator, elementary director and the first female principal in Alaska. She was teacher of the year in 1948.

Retirement didn’t stop Leah Peterson from public service. She served as the first president of Central Alaska Retired Teachers’ Association; president of the Alaska Retired Teachers’ Association; State Director of the National Retired Teachers’ Association; was appointed by the governor to serve on the State Board of Retirement, and was president of the Anchorage Schools Administrative Association.

For more than 30 years, Leah actively served on the Board of Trustees for Alaska Pacific University and was a member of the College Fellows, University of Alaska. She was worthy matron of Eastern Star (1052); member of Anchorage Woman’s Club and PEP Chapter P; state founder of Delta Kappa Gamma, Territory of Alaska, and an honorary member of Beta Gamma State, both national organizations for meritorious women educators. Leah was one of the 41 charter members of Zonta Club of Anchorage, founded in August 1961.

Leah received her teaching certification from Nazarene College in Idaho, bachelor’s degree from Colorado State College, and master’s degree from University of Alaska Anchorage. She returned to the Northwest Nazarene University after 73 years, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition of her service to the profession of education, her community and society at large (2001), and then an Honorary Doctorate from Alaska Pacific University (2005).

Leah gave of herself, time after time, in service to the profession of education, her community and society at large. She brilliantly wove the story of her humble beginnings, hopes and dreams, and the impact education had on her life during college and throughout her life. In 2007, she made a generous gift to the new children’s gallery in the expansion of the Anchorage Museum at Rasumson Center. A special area, to be named Leah’s Corner, will feature an array of children’s literature and activities on Alaska topics in art, history and science.

Leah Peterson was a pioneer of education in Alaska, helping build an educational system from frontier instruction to a solid educational organization. She published, “This is Alaska”, a social science text and workbook for third and fourth grades that was adopted by the State of Alaska in 1959.

Leah devoted her life to the service of others. She remained young at heart while mentoring, counseling and attracting admirers of all ages.



Photo of Martha M. Roderick

Martha M. Roderick

19312008 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Civic Involvement, Education

Martha M. Roderick came to Alaska in 1955, met and married Jack Roderick, stayed and raised two daughters. Interested in politics, Martha joined organizations and served on local and state committees virtually from the time of her arrival in Alaska. After returning from a year in India, she pursued her interest in education. She served on Anchorage School District committees starting in 1969 and on the Anchorage School Board from 1984-1988, her last year as President. For more than 40 years, Martha contributed her time, intelligence, skill, and energy to helping young people read, and to working to help Anchorage have an excellent school system. She believed the ability to read could make a difference between a life of success and one of discouragement. The Martha Roderick Books for Kids Fund, established after her death in 2008, allows her family to continue her program of giving a “for keeps” book to every child at Fairview Elementary School.

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19312008 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Civic Involvement, Education

Martha Brady Martin was born in 1931 in Knoxville, Tenn. At age 16, she went to Radcliffe. In 1955 she came to Alaska “just for the summer” intending to return to Boston for a job with John Hancock Insurance Company. She did not go back. Her first job in Anchorage was to sell advertising for the program of a traveling circus. Giving her sales pitch at Cordova Airlines, she was asked her dress size, and when it was determined she would fit the stewardess uniform, was offered a job. She accepted, and traveled on a DC-3 around Alaska. She met an attractive truck driver (Jack Roderick) in Anchorage and married him. They raised two daughters.

Martha was interested in politics, and the year she arrived in Anchorage she was elected secretary of the local Democratic caucus. She joined the League of Women Voters and chaired a committee conducting a two-year study of Anchorage’s first general plan. She was a member of the speaker’s bureau promoting the formation of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough. After statehood, Gov. Egan appointed Martha Alaska’s representative to the Western States’ Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE).

The Roderick family went to New Delhi, India, in 1967, where Jack served a year as regional director for the Peace Corps. After their return, Martha pursued her particular interest in education. She served on Anchorage School District committees from 1969 to 1983, and was elected to the Anchorage School Board in 1984 and served on it for four years, her last year as president.

As a child, Martha had watched her grandfather pay his garden workers, mostly African-American citizens, to stay after their work day so he could teach them to read. Inspired by that, Martha regularly volunteered for more than 40 years, particularly at Fairview Elementary School, to help children succeed at reading. Her commitment to education was sincere. One year, Martha spent her Permanent Fund dividend on a “for-keeps” book for every student at Fairview School. Later, she taught as part of the Title One program at Fairview, and taught pre-GED students at the Adult Learning Center. She found success with her approach to determine what was of interest to the student. For boys who answered “heavy equipment”, Martha would have them use a heavy equipment manual as the textbook.

In 1980, Martha attended the Radcliffe Management Training Seminar and did an internship at Massachusetts Education Television. On her return to Anchorage in 1981, she became the first community access coordinator for Multivisions Cable Company. There, she set up what is now the Anchorage School District Channel 43. She met with local groups and worked to get them to produce and broadcast television shows about issues and events of interest to their constituencies.

Martha contributed her time, intelligence, skill, and energy to helping young people learn to read, and to working to help the Anchorage school system excel. She believed the ability to read could make a difference between a life of success and one of discouragement. The Martha Roderick Books for Kids Fund, established after her death in 2008, allows her family to continue her program of giving a “for keeps” book to every child at Fairview Elementary School.



Photo of Clare Swan

Clare Swan

1931 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Native Issues, Political Activism

Born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula, Clare Swan worked for decades to preserve and protect the subsistence fishing rights of the Kenaitze Indians following passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA) in 1971.  She had the foresight to realize the significant impact of ANCSA on future generations of Alaska Native people.  She spent two decades immersed in research and litigation, culminating in the Kenaitze Indian Tribe receiving State regulations and rights on the eve of open fishing in June 1989.  That decision has had long reaching legal ramifications, extending to Indian grazing rights in Southwest America.

In the late 1970s Clare worked to establish the Cook Inlet Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  While serving as Chair of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe she helped establish the Dena’ina Health Clinic and youth and community agricultural programs.  She served on the Board of Directors for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) 1998, the latter as Chair since 2000.  In her “spare time”, Clare has advocated for women and children through the Indian Child Welfare Act, worked and supported the Women’s Crisis Center in Kenai, and volunteered with the court system.

In 2009 Clare was honored with the Alaska Federation of Natives President’s Award for Elder of the Year. She is most thankful to her husband of 60 years “who has supported me as person.”

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1931 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Native Issues, Political Activism

Born and raised on the Kenai Peninsula, Clare Swan worked for decades to preserve and protect the subsistence fishing rights of the Kenaitze Indians following passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANSCA) in 1971.  She had the foresight to realize the significant impact of ANCSA on future generations of Alaska Native people.  She spent two decades immersed in research and litigation, culminating in the Kenaitze Indian Tribe receiving State regulations and rights on the eve of open fishing in June 1989.  That decision has had long reaching legal ramifications, extending to Indian grazing rights in Southwest America.

In the late 1970s Clare worked to establish the Cook Inlet Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  While serving as Chair of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe she helped establish the Dena’ina Health Clinic and youth and community agricultural programs.  She served on the Board of Directors for Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI) and the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) 1998, the latter as Chair since 2000.  In her “spare time”, Clare has advocated for women and children through the Indian Child Welfare Act, worked and supported the Women’s Crisis Center in Kenai, and volunteered with the court system.

In 2009 Clare was honored with the Alaska Federation of Natives President’s Award for Elder of the Year. She is most thankful to her husband of 60 years “who has supported me as person.”



Photo of Helen Stoddard Whaley, M.D.

Helen Stoddard Whaley, M.D.

19241971 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Medicine

Dr. Helen Whaley came to Alaska in l954 – the first woman pediatrician in the state – and a pioneer in championing medical and educational resources for all Alaska children, especially those with physical and developmental disabilities.  Known as a brilliant clinician, she was tireless in the treatment and support of “her kids”. Dr. Whaley co-founded the Anchorage Pediatric Group (1956); founded the Alaska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (1965); directed the Alaska Crippled Children’s Treatment Center; founded the Child Study Center in Anchorage, which provided diagnostic services for brain-injured and handicapped children; and provided pediatric consultation services to the Alaska Native Hospital.

Dr. Whaley’s vision and drive changed the lives of hundreds of children and continues to do so today through the organizations she founded and co-founded. Her achievements are even more remarkable when viewed against the tragedies of her early years. Helen’s life story is one of courage and determination. Her prominent father shot himself when she was 9, leaving her family in poverty. Helen, who had a learning disability, and her four younger brothers, were parceled out to relatives.  Two years later, when Helen was 11, her mother died of breast cancer. In l944, at age 20 and grimly determined, she was cleaning out tank cars, working her way through medical school at the University of California Berkley. Helen Whaley received her M.D. in l950, served her pediatric residency at UC San Francisco, and was chief pediatric resident at the University of Colorado General Hospital before coming to Alaska. Against all odds, Helen Whaley made it to the top of her field. For the rest of her life she shared her knowledge and energy with Alaska’s children.

Helen Whaley died of breast cancer in l971 at the age of 47. In l973 the Whaley Center in Anchorage, a special education center for children with significant disabilities, was named in her honor.

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19241971 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Medicine

The first woman pediatrician in Alaska (1954), Dr. Helen Whaley was a pioneer in championing medical and educational resources for all Alaska children, especially those with physical and developmental disabilities. Known as a brilliant clinician, she was tireless in the treatment and support of “her kids”. Dr. Whaley co-founded the Anchorage Pediatric Group (1956); founded the Alaska Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (1965); and founded the Child Study Center in Anchorage, which provided diagnostic services for brain injured and handicapped children. The Whaley Center in Anchorage, a special education center for children with significant disabilities, is named in her honor.

Dr. Helen Whaley, who is described as “brilliant”, “formidable”, “deeply caring” and whose vision and energy added a new dimension to pediatric care in Alaska, was raised in a background of wealth, death and poverty – all before she was 12. Those who loved her believe these experiences made her the brilliant clinician she was. “She didn’t listen to what patients literally said,” her husband, Dr. Robert Whaley, comments, ”she listened for what they meant. She had learned early there was a significant difference.”

Her mother Helen, a “beautiful country girl” from the Midwest, was swept off her feet by the “dashing” Jack Stoddard, oil rich, destined to be mayor of Denver, Colo. Helen and her four younger brothers were raised with governesses – until she was 9 years old, and her father shot himself. He was broke. Her mother had no skills, The children were parceled off to relatives. Two year later, when Helen was 11, her mother died of breast cancer.

In l944, when Bob Whaley (also a pioneer physician in Alaska) met the 20 year-old Helen Stoddard in medical school, she was working her way through by “cleaning out tank cars, doing very rough work”. “We visited her uncle who had helped raised the children (two of her brothers had died tragically by then). He took me aside and asked, ‘She’s a girl; do you think she can really be a doctor?’ I told him no one could stop her.”

Robert and Helen married in l946, while both were in medical school.

Helen received her M.D. in 1950 from the University of California Berkeley and San Francisco. After a medical internship, she served her residency in pediatrics at UC San Francisco. She was chief pediatric resident at the University of Colorado, at Colorado General Hospital in Denver. Helen later studied neurology at Boston’s Children’s Hospital (l956) and pediatric neurology at Stanford University in l966. Dr. Helen Whaley earned her way to the top of her field during her years of practice in Alaska.

“You have no idea how hard she worked,” says Dr. Bob Whaley. “On top of the other hardships of her life, she had a learning disability. She was always just tremendously determined and she was completely dedicated to her kids.”

The Whaleys came to Alaska in the early l950s when Bob was drafted; Bob arrived in l953 and Helen in l954. The year she arrived, Helen volunteered as a pediatric consultant for the Alaska Native Hospital in Anchorage. She and Dr. John Tower, later joined by Dr. Harvey Zartman, continued a regular consultation service to the (then) Indian Health Service, providing pediatric expertise for the Native population of the entire state as well as to the children of Anchorage. Dr. Whaley and Dr. Tower co-founded the Anchorage Pediatric Group in l956.

The next 15 years were filled with immense energy and joy and lasting contributions. Helen Whaley became one of the pioneers in providing quality, state-of-the-art pediatric care to Alaska’s children. She served on the American Academy of Pediatrics Indian Health Committee. Her efforts in founding and directing the Child Study Center for brain injured and handicapped children led to in-state multidisciplinary diagnostic services. She directed the Alaska Crippled Children’s Treatment Center, which served all of Alaska.

Dr. Whaley is described over and over again as setting a very high standard of medical care for all of Alaska’s children. “For those of us who followed, her high standards of care set an example”, writes Dr. Elizabeth Hatton.

Then tragedy struck again. Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer. “She faced her final months with stoicism, and worked from home until a week before her death,” wrote Chris Tower Zafren.

Dr. Helen Whaley died in l971 at age 47. In 1973, the Helen S. Whaley School was constructed as a Special Education Center for Learner Assistance for students with significant physical and developmental disabilities.



Photo of Caroline Wohlforth

Caroline Wohlforth

19322011 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Service, Education

Inspired by her clergyman father and Quaker education, Caroline Wohlforth has served the Anchorage community for approximately 40 years through work on founding and early boards of KSKA public radio and KAKM public television, the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, Planned Parenthood, Childcare Connection (now known as Thread), Fellowship in Service to Humanity (FISH) and the Educational Center, in conjunction with St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Caroline identifies as her proudest achievement her work revolutionizing education in Anchorage through her integral work in the creation of Chugach Optional Elementary and Steller Secondary schools in the 1970s. After firmly launching these new schools, Caroline served on the Anchorage School Board where she was president for two terms. She is proud of the fact that the Anchorage School District now provides a broad variety of learning experiences to fit the needs of students.

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19322011 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Community Service, Education

Raised by an Episcopal clergyman and educated at a Quaker School, Caroline Wohlforth developed a deep understanding that “each person has some of God in them.” Caroline knew she was being educated for a reason and was expected to contribute to the betterment of the world. Later experiences in education, both her own and those of her children, led her to the realization that not all education is created equal. As a result, Caroline began her work to try to ensure the children of the Anchorage School District could enjoy the quality of education she experienced as a child.

As a parent to two children in the 1970s, Caroline volunteered in the Open Classroom in Juneau where her younger son, Charles, went to school. It was there she witnessed and supported the work of Shirley Campbell, who she describes as the “most brilliant teacher I have ever known.” Upon their return to Anchorage and with no similar options available, Caroline joined Wendy Baring-Gould and Una Tuck in an effort to create Chugach Optional School. As soon as the plans for Chugach Optional were in place, Caroline led a new group called the Committee for Alternate Secondary Education (CASE) to ensure that these children would have an equally innovative secondary school waiting for them upon completion of elementary school; the result was Steller Secondary. U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a “proud” Steller graduate, states: “I am certain that education made a decisive difference in my life, allowing me to develop the entrepreneurial skills that led to my success in business and politics. Caroline Wohlforth certainly deserves some of the credit for my career as a mayor and now as a U.S. senator.” Caroline calls her role in the creation of Chugach Optional Elementary and Steller Secondary her “proudest achievement,” and added that she hopes (and believes) that the school district can now provide a broader variety of learning experiences to fit the needs of students than it would have without the examples of Chugach and Steller. Her service to Anchorage and Alaska, however, is not limited to public education.

To ensure that these schools would remain strong and to give something back to the Anchorage School District, she joined the ASD Board, first as an appointee and later as an elected member. She served as the president for two terms. Gov. Tony Knowles, then the mayor of Anchorage, noted: “As board president, she calmed the waters in conflict between the district and municipality, and brought about a new period of cooperation when these institutions were able to work together productively, pursuing a common goal of education of young Alaskans rather than a conflict of bureaucracies.”

Wohlforth went on to co-found KSKA public radio and KAKM public television, and was appointed to the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission in 1980 by Governor Jay Hammond. She served on the boards of Planned Parenthood and Childcare Connection, now known as Thread, which supports quality child care. For more than 30 years, Caroline has volunteered for and led Fellowship in Service to Humanity (FISH), which provides food to those in need. She also volunteers for the Educational Center, a non-profit organization which produces experiential Christian education materials. The center was founded on the teachings of her father, Rev. Charles Penniman.

Her grace and wisdom are an example to many, including Father Chuck Eddy who wrote “If I were to pick a role model for the coming generation, I would pick Caroline Wohlforth.”



Photo of Patricia B. Wolf

Patricia B. Wolf

1940 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Museum Direction

Patricia Ann Brauman Wolf was raised in New York and earned a degree in English from Johns Hopkins University. The Air Force brought the Wolf family to Alaska.

In 1973, Pat received a Rockefeller Fellowship in Museum Education and Programs, in 1974 she became the curator of education, and in1987 she became chief executive officer of the Anchorage Museum.

Pat has participated in three expansions of the museum’s physical facilities. She played a lead role in expanding their educational programming, quadrupled the collections and organized numerous local and temporary exhibitions.

Through her efforts, the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center is housed at the Anchorage Museum.  In 2007 she was awarded the Smithson Medal, the Smithsonian Institution’s most prestigious and highest award.

Through the years, Pat sought to make the museum not only an outstanding institution for Alaska art, history and, most recently, science but promoted accessibility of the museum’s facilities as the “community’s living room” for use by groups, individuals and businesses; a gathering place for local cultural and artistic endeavors as well as a location for high school proms, weddings and art classes for children.

She and her husband, Dr. Aaron Wolf, raised three children: Jonathan Paul, Lisa Ellen, and Laurie Beth. In 2003 the YWCA recognized her as a Woman of Achievement.

Pat retired from the Anchorage Museum in 2007 and continues her involvement with museums and libraries serving as proprietor for a consulting firm, Museumomentum.

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1940 Categories: 2011 Alumnae, Education, Museum Direction

Fewer than 10 years after statehood, the Air Force brought the Wolf family to Anchorage’s Elmendorf Air Force Base. Patricia Ann Brauman Wolf was raised in New York with the many cultural amenities it has to offer, and earned a degree in English from Johns Hopkins University. She wasn’t quite sure what to make of this frontier town. Pat was not an outdoors person, let alone a hunter or fisher, but she and her husband, Dr. Aaron Wolf, nonetheless decided to make it their home.

Pat’s first job was with Army Kirshbaum, a local artist and gallery owner. She became interested in learning more about Alaska, and pursued studies at Alaska Methodist University for more education in Alaska Native Art, Native studies and anthropology. Pat studied under Saradel Ard, who became her long-time friend and mentor. Shortly after the Anchorage Museum opened, Pat began volunteering there as a docent.

In 1973 Pat received a Rockefeller Fellowship in Museum Education and Programs at the DeYoung Museum Art School in San Francisco, Calif., and interned at the Oakland Museum. In 1974 the position of curator of education came open at the museum in Anchorage. Pat applied and her life-long career with the museum began. In 1987 she became the director and chief executive officer of this institution which she, helped with her able staff, grew to become one of Alaska’s top 10 tourist attractions.

During her tenure there, Pat participated in three expansions of the museum’s physical facilities. She played a lead role in expanding the museum’s educational programming, quadrupled the collections, and organized numerous exhibitions highlighting Native art and Alaska artists. She encouraged the creation of many outstanding temporary exhibitions of Alaska materials and brought world class exhibits such as A T-rex Named Sue, which attracted more than 135,000 visitors to the museum in just three months.

Through her formidable fund-raising skills and broad smile, Pat helped to raise nearly $150 million in private and public funds for the museum while she served as CEO. She also facilitated the founding of the Anchorage Museum Foundation which generated an endowment fund that now contributes substantially to the museum’s bottom line every year.

Pat Wolf forged a relationship with the Smithsonian resulting in the first regional office of that institution’s National Museum of Natural History Arctic Studies Center which is housed at the newly expanded Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. As stated by Aaron Crowell, the Arctic Studies Center’s Alaska director, “The partnership . . . is unprecedented in terms of the significance of the collection, the duration of the loan, and the collaboration with Alaska Native advisors who selected and interpreted the objects.” In 2007, the Smithson awarded her their highest recognition, the Smithson Medal, in recognition of her long-standing efforts to create a venue for the Smithsonian in Alaska.

Through the years Pat sought to make the museum not only an outstanding institution for Alaska art, history and, most recently, science but on a local level, she promoted accessibility of the museum’s facilities as the “community’s living room.” It is used by groups, individuals and businesses, is a gathering place for local cultural and artistic endeavors, and is where high school proms, weddings and art classes for children take place.

Because of Pat Wolf, the Anchorage Museum became, “a home for dozens of multi-cultural activities where people of all ages can explore their own traditions and share their customs with the community,” said Susan Churchill, executive director of the Anchorage Bridge Builders program.

At the announcement of her retirement, Anchorage Museum Association board chair Joe Griffith said: “With her dedication to the museum, Pat has led our community to an awareness and appreciation of art and culture rarely seen in other communities the size of Anchorage. The legacy from her truly exceptional career is an institution uniquely positioned to serve the people of Anchorage for decades ahead.”

“Anchorage is a better, richer community because of Pat Wolf’s more than three decades of public service,” said Mayor Mark Begich. “Her inspired leadership and ability to dream big helped build a museum of wonder that would be the envy of any city.”

A woman of The Feminine Mystique era, Pat was able to structure her life in such a way as to successfully pursue her profession, and, with the support of her husband Aaron, raise a family of three children: Jonathan Paul, Lisa Ellen and Alaska-born Laurie Beth. She also was a role model for many in her community. In 2003 the YWCA recognized her as a Woman of Achievement.

Retired from the Anchorage Museum in 2007, Pat continues her involvement as proprietor for a consulting firm, Museumomentum, writing grants and developing plans for local museums and libraries.