Anthony ‘Tony’ Knowles
Honorary Doctor of Laws
Tony Knowles was born in Oklahoma in 1943. He joined the military in 1962, later serving in Vietnam. Following his graduation from Yale University in 1968 with a degree in economics, he moved to Alaska to work on oil-drilling rigs on the North Slope and in Cook Inlet. In 1969 he opened the first of four restaurants in Anchorage and was soon after appointed to the Anchorage Comprehensive Planning Commission. He was elected to the Anchorage Assembly in 1975 and embarked on a long and distinguished career in public service in Alaska.
Mr. Knowles served as mayor of Anchorage from 1982 to 1987. In the robust 1980s, he led a citywide revitalization effort that transformed Anchorage into a vibrant residential, commercial and transportation center. His administration oversaw major growth and development, including the Eklutna water supply, a new landfill, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, the Egan Convention Center, the Brother Francis Shelter, and an 11-mile scenic coastal trail, which would later be named in his honor.
In 1994 Mr. Knowles was elected as Alaska’s ninth governor and went on to serve two terms. As the state’s chief executive, he set an agenda focused on jobs and families. He promoted economic growth as well as conservation and established programs designed to bring health care to women and children across the state. During his tenure, he forged an agreement with Alaska Native tribes to foster rural delivery of services and economic development. His commitment to education led to the development of programs aimed to serve early learning, K-12 classrooms and the University of Alaska, and his support of increased state funding allowed UA to proceed with new strategic initiatives.
Following his political career in Alaska, Mr. Knowles has continued in his commitment to community leadership. In 2010 he was appointed as chair of the National Park System Advisory Board and currently serves as president of the National Energy Policy Institute
In recognition of his commitment to public service and his career of distinguished leadership, the University of Alaska Anchorage proudly confers upon Tony Knowles the title of Honorary Doctor of Laws.