ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Alaska Pacific University (APU) President Dr. Robert Onders announced Thursday that he will step down when a successor is recruited and ready to take his place.
Onders, who has helmed the private university for three years, told University leaders and colleagues that he plans to stay involved with APU in a new capacity.
“It has been an honor to have had the opportunity to serve as APU’s President,” Onders said. “I am looking forward to continuing to support APU’s mission by transitioning to a different role that will focus on growing our health-related programs, research and community engagement activities, and health-related legal advocacy projects.”
Onders made the announcement at a meeting of APU’s Board of Trustees, which immediately made plans to begin the search for a new president. The board has formed a Presidential Search Subcommittee to oversee the recruitment and selection process, with members representing the Board of Trustees as well as the University’s staff, faculty and student body, and a member from the community at large. The position will be posted on the APU website at www.AlaskaPacific.edu.
Accomplishments at APU over the past three years include development of a new strategic plan to transition to a Tribal University, adding programs in nursing and healthcare-related degrees, increasing student enrollment, joining the University of the Arctic, forming the inaugural Alaska Native Elders Council, reinstating the APU Art Committee, and improving the institution’s financial position.
“The Board of Trustees would like to thank Dr. Onders for his continuing service to Alaska Pacific University,” said APU Board of Trustees Chair, Ethan Schutt. “During his tenure, Dr. Onders helped revitalize APU as it grounded itself in its roots, following the vision of founder Peter Gordon Gould that Indigenous leaders are trained and educated to stay in Alaska. Meeting the needs of rural Alaska’s workforce has been a driving motivation for Dr. Onders, and our APU community is immensely grateful for his leadership.”