Class assignment: Gov. Parnell to take over as chancellor of University of Alaska Anchorage


In a letter to the University of Alaska community today, University of Alaska Interim President Pat Pitney named former Gov. Sean Parnell as chancellor of of Anchorage campus. Parnell, governor from 2009 to 2014, will take the helm on June 12.

“I believe Sean to be uniquely positioned to lead UAA in providing the programs that support Anchorage and Alaska’s workforce needs and economic growth, including innovative research to drive the state forward,” Pitney said in her letter. Pitney noted Parnell’s long commitment to education.

“Governor Sean sponsored and implemented the Alaska Performance Scholarship program and worked with the Alaska Legislature to establish a $400 million endowment to fund the program as well as needs-based grants to create higher education and job training opportunities in Alaska,” Pitney wrote.

Parnell has many years of service as Alaska’s governor, lieutenant governor, and as a state senator and representative. He was also deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, and has been working as an attorney in private practice since 2014, focusing on business law.

The most recent chancellor of UA was Cathy Sandeen, who announced her resignation in October to take an academic position in California.


  1. The Interim UA President made a good decision! Governor Parnell will be a great asset to UAA and bring a lot of valuable real world experience and constructive leadership to the University Of Alaska!

  2. Former Governor Parnell will likely bring the same incompetence and do-nothing spirit to UAA as he did to the state’s executive office. Is there anything in his curriculum vitae that gives him the special knowledge or ability required to run the university effectively? I think perhaps not.
    But it’s a nice sinecure. He can once again drink from the state salary spigot, which he has so successfully done in the past, all the while claiming he is against burdensome state spending.

  3. Congratulations Sean! I’m glad that the Board of Regents selected an Alaskan who will be willing to stay here and knows the state and who will support the University as it should be supported. Best to you and the university.

  4. Furthermore I am not surprised they choose a well-known Republican member over one of their own. Hahaha. Anything the Democrats made a mess, they call on a Republican come clean it up. If they aren’t successful democrats will blame the whole catastrophe on the Republican Party.

  5. Parnell looks like and even smiles like his identical twin…… Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state. And that’s not a good thing. Inslee is one of the all-time dumbest politicians in America. Try a new look, Sean.

  6. This makes me happy. I met him at our school graduation a few years back. He’s exactly what UA needs after Johnson ran it into the gutter for so many years.

  7. The failures in elections usually end up at the University with many KUDOS and pats on the backs. That is what they are, left overs of the state government. They have to know the secrets of getting more money to the University coffers, legal and otherwise. We saw that in the past and will do better viewing in the future with Parnell. He helped the bad debt grow and now……well watch out! It will grow and grow. I’d say the good ole boys are back at it again!

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