Internationally ranked scholar and writer Nora Marks Dauenhauer returns to her alma mater April 27 as commencement speaker at Alaska Pacific University graduation exercises.
It is Dauenhauer’s first speaking engagement at APU since she graduated in 1976 with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from Alaska Methodist University, precursor to APU.
“I’m honored to return to the campus where my life’s work had its start,” Dauenhauer said.
The University has a place in her personal life as well: She and her husband, former Alaska Poet Laureate Richard Dauenhauer, met while Nora was a student and Richard was an AMU teacher.
Authors of seminal collections of Tlingit language oratory, oral history and folklore, the Dauenhauers received the 2008 American Book Award for “Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka 1802 and 1804.” The book draws on Tlingit accounts to offer the first full-length, scholarly version of the conflict, among the bloodiest in Alaska history.
Born in Juneau in 1927, Nora Marks Dauenhauer spoke only Tlingit until she entered school at age 8. In addition to scholarly research and writing, she is a widely anthologized creative writer whose Raven plays have been performed internationally, including at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Her many honors include a lifetime achievement award in 2007 from the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska; induction in 2010 into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame; and winner in 1989 of an Alaska Governor’s Award for the Arts.
Semi-retired and living in Juneau, Dauenhauer has continued her research, writing and consulting and remains active in local volunteer work.
APU commencement begins at 2 p.m. at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium, University of Alaska Anchorage.
Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Alaska Pacific University is committed to personalized, experiential learning that incorporates Alaska as a principal classroom. APU is Alaska’s only four-year, private baccalaureate liberal arts university.