Former Lt. Governor named first female president of Alaska Pacific University

Valerie Davidson at Alaska Pacific University’s 2018 Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration. (Photo courtesy State of Alaska)

Former Lt. Gov. Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson has been named president of Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage.

The university announced the appointment Tuesday. Davidson will succeed Bob Onders in the role on April 25. She will be the first woman to serve as the institution’s president, the university said.

Davidson was state health commissioner under then-Gov. Bill Walker and became his lieutenant governor in late 2018, shortly before Walker left office, after Byron Mallott resigned from the post.

She was one of 21 applicants for the role as president, the university said.

APU is a small, private, liberal arts university that’s in the process of becoming a tribal college.

“We are excited about the leadership that Ms. Davidson will bring to APU in this new phase of our journey, including efforts to formally become a Tribal University,” Ethan Schutt, chairman of APU’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement.

Alaska Public Media contributed to this story.