Ketchikan’s mayor received an honorary doctorate during the University of Alaska Southeast Ketchikan campus’ commencement ceremony April 30th.  Here are highlights from the event.

Ketchikan City Mayor Dave Kiffer was awarded an honorary doctorate at UAS Ketchikan’s 2022 graduation ceremony held at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.

Dr. Dave Kiffer speaking at the 2022 UAS Ketchikan commencement ceremony (photo courtesy of UAS Ketchikan professor Barbara Morgan).

UAS Chancellor Karen Carey said Kiffer has served his community in a wide variety of roles, including journalist, historian, teacher, poet, musician and elected official. Currently the mayor of the city of Ketchikan, Kiffer previously served as a Ketchikan City Council member, borough mayor, and member of the borough assembly. He has also been an adjunct professor at UAS Ketchikan for 25 years. In other words, he’s worn a lot of hats – and Carey said she was glad to bestow upon Kiffer a ceremonial hood signifying the honorary degree.

“Today we are proud to honor Dr. Kiffer with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Regent Davies, would you please assist me in hooding Dr. Kiffer,” Carey said.

In a short speech, the newly-minted Dr. Dave Kiffer said he was glad to live in a community that allows anyone to be what they want to be.

“Best of all, Ketchikan always managed to stick with me despite all the sudden lane changes that I’ve made over the years. And it’s never shied away from guiding me through all the bumpy rides. I thank the University of Alaska Southeast for this honor. I thank my family for supporting me and allowing me to do all these things, and I thank my community for making it possible to serve a community in so many, many different and ultimately interesting ways.”

Amy Bauer, who graduated with a master’s degree in education, gave the student address. After thanking the graduates, faculty, family and friends, she thanked her program advisor, Lisa Richardson, saying everyone needs someone to help guide them along their path, though it may come with unexpected obstacles.

“You may have been on what you thought was the right path, only to find that you’ve walked right into a hillside of devil’s club. And you’ve had to retrace your steps and start out again on another path.”

Bauer says her path has been one of shyness, doubt and frustration. She offered encouragement to her fellow graduates.

This was the first in-person UAS Ketchikan commencement ceremony in two years.  Ten of the 28 graduates were present to receive their diplomas.