A former Republican governor of Alaska will become the next chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska Public Media reported.

Sean Parnell, who served as governor for five years beginning in 2009, will take over as chancellor of the public university on June 12. Pat Pitney, interim chancellor of the University of Alaska system, said Parnell had support from a search committee as well as students.

“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 a statement.

Parnell will step into the chancellor’s role while the university continues to grapple with state budget cuts as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. This year will be the last of a three-year, $70 million state budget cut for the university system that began in 2019.

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