Mike Harper has spent many years working with and for the people of Alaska. Mike was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and is of Athabascan descent. He has a wife, Jane, whom he’s been married to for 49 years and has one daughter, Kristi. Mike attended Lathrop High School where he thoroughly enjoyed sports and extracurricular activities. After high school, he attended the University of Georgia where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Mike served in the U.S. Army as a Small Unit Commander and was later honorably discharged. His work history includes: Rural Cap Community Organizer, an employee for the State of Alaska in various positions such as management and aide to the Governor attempting to better life in rural Alaskan villages, a banker and CEO of Native ANCSA Corporation. Mike has served on the board of directors for many institutions such as various non-profits and Alaska Village Initiatives, Salvation Army, the Native Heritage Center, Doyon Limited, and Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Mike has since retired but has spent his time volunteering at a junior high school as a tutor for remedial math, a director of sales for his wife’s novel Unequally Divided, and a backup driver for his grandchildren’s sporting events.
Mike believes that education is the best answer to move people in poverty to a better place and that Alaska Pacific University, being a high education institution, is in the position to successfully do so. He is interested in helping APU accomplish this goal and seeing APU reach a mutually beneficial arrangement with ANTHC and other suitable partners. In 1934, Mike’s aunt Jane Harper Petri was the first Alaska Native woman to graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Jane provided financial assistance to many students at UAF and it is one of Mike’s goals to be able to mentor students. Mike is the grand nephew of Walter Harmer who was the first to summit Denali.