On Sunday, Dec. 17, at the fall 2017 UAA Commencement ceremony, the late retired Superior Court Judge Roy Madsen of Kodiak was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. This award is bestowed to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the university, to the state of Alaska, or to the individuals’ discipline or profession.Vice President of CIRI Gregory Razo accepts the honorary degree award on Roy Madsen’s behalf at the fall 2017 UAA commencement ceremony. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)
The university recognized Judge Madsen for his years of service in Alaska’s legal system, the Alaska Superior Court and on the UA Board of Regents. Madsen’s leadership was instrumental in establishing what is now Kodiak College, a UAA campus. He passed away on Dec. 26, 2017, at the age of 94.
Nominations for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 honorary degree awards are currently being accepted. The deadline for nominations is Jan. 31, 2018. Learn more about how to nominate someone here.
Roy Madsen Biography
Born in the village of Kanatak on the Alaska Peninsula, Roy Madsen was raised by his father Charles, a Danish fur trader, and his mother Mary Metrokin Madsen, of Sugpiaq-Alutiiq-Russian heritage.
After completing Kodiak High School in 1941, Anthony Dimond, Alaska’s congressional delegate, appointed Madsen to the U.S. Naval Academy. Not accepted due to color blindness, Madsen enrolled in ROTC at Oregon State College (now University) and enlisted in the U.S. Navy his sophomore year. He served as navigator and forward gunner in Papua, Dutch New Guinea and the Philippine Islands, earning six campaign medals and two battle stars.
After the war, Madsen fished and guided in Kodiak before returning to college. He received his law degree in 1953 from Northwestern College of Law, today part of Lewis and Clark College. He became an assistant district attorney for Clackamas County, but returned …