The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees and University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen announced the appointment of Susan Behlke Foley as president of the University Foundation. Foley, an Anchorage-based attorney, brings substantial executive and nonprofit leadership to the position. She joins the Foundation on Sept. 6.
“Susan’s experience and perspective as a longtime Alaskan with deep experience in philanthropy will be critical for the Foundation’s success as we navigate our way through some very challenging fiscal times,” said Scott Jepsen, chair of the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Trustees. “We look forward to her leadership.”
As a partner in the law firm of Foley, Foley, & Pearson, P.C. for the past 28 years, Foley has helped hundreds of Alaskans recognize the importance of philanthropy as they plan their estates. A frequent lecturer on all aspects of charitable planning, philanthropy and wealth transfer planning, she has significant teaching and speaking experience.
“I look forward to working with others at the university as I take on this important role at the University Foundation,” Foley said. “Alaskans understand the university system is crucial to the future of our state. They agree that education is critical to quality of life, workforce quality and the ability to retain our brightest. Enhanced giving is key if our university is to carry out its critical mission.”
Foley has been active in philanthropic and charitable organizations throughout her professional career. She was a longtime member of the board of directors of the Alaska Community Foundation and served as that organization’s interim CEO and president in 2015. She participated as a member of the Planned Giving Goals and Visioning Committee for United Way of Anchorage, and in 2014 she received Alaska’s Outstanding Volunteer in Philanthropy Award from the Alaska Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Raised in Fairbanks, Foley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Whitman College and a juris doctor from Lewis & Clark Northwestern School of Law. She began her law practice in Fairbanks and moved to Anchorage in 1981.
Foley succeeds Carla Beam, who retired in December 2015, and Interim UA Foundation President Megan Riebe.