National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges


Mark Hamilton, President
Alaska Statewide University System

The University of Alaska has been under the dynamic leadership of President Mark R. Hamilton since August 1998. He is a persuasive advocate for the University and the benefits of higher education for Alaska and Alaskans.

One of President Hamilton's first official acts was to introduce the UA Scholars Program, which awards four-year scholarships to the top ten percent of Alaska's graduating high school seniors. In its first year, the program drew 275 of 800 Alaskan graduates enrolling at UA campuses. Projections show that over 400 of UA's entering Alaskan freshmen will be scholarship recipients in the coming year.

The Scholars Program is only one way UA is working to attract Alaskan students to Alaska's university system. President Hamilton calls this University the engine of Alaska's economy. When he spoke to legislators gathered in Juneau for the new millennium's first session, he said, "The University is not the best way, it's the only way to economic diversification."

Biography of Mark R. Hamilton

Mark R. Hamilton became the twelfth president of the University of Alaska on August 10, 1998.

As one of his first official actions, Hamilton set up scholarships intended to persuade the state's brightest high school graduates to stay in Alaska for college. The program provides graduates who were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class with scholarships of $10,800 over four years if they attend a UA campus. The program, which received national attention, was a major success in its first year.

Under Hamilton's leadership, the university also received financial relief from Alaska's lawmakers this year. The legislature increased state spending on the university system by 3.5%, or about $6 million, for fiscal 2000. They responded to his argument that the state's financial difficulties were a reason to spend more, not less, on higher education.

Just prior to accepting the chief leadership position of the university, Hamilton was a U. S. Army Major General in charge of recruiting.

Hamilton received his bachelor of science degree from the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1967, and his master's degree in English literature from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1973. He is also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, and of the U. S. Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

During his 31 years of active duty, Hamilton was twice assigned to Alaska.

Hamilton has received the Army's highest peacetime award, The Distinguished Service Medal, and the Armed Forces' highest peacetime award, the Joint Distinguished Service Medal.

He has been married to the former Patricia Behrens for 31 years.


National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges
AACC One Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 410
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202)728-0200 Fax: (202)833-2467

The National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  The council provides a forum for the exchange of information about developments, trends, and problems in state systems of community colleges.  

Through our affiliation with AACC, we also strive to affect national legislation that impacts our colleges and state agencies.

This is the only Council that represents the collective interest of state agencies and state boards of community colleges.  This council is a valuable forum to help state directors deal with the changes in attitude and policies towards community colleges at the international, federal, state and local levels.  We will share information and learn lessons from each other to better serve the interests of our institutions in the coming years.

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