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In the same week the University of Alaska announced 19 programs could be eliminated due to budget cuts, UA President Jim Johnsen gave his State of the University address with a tone of resilience and optimism.
Johnsen opened his speech by acknowledging the mascots of each large campus in the state, saying that if the entire university system had a mascot, it would be a phoenix.
"Given the year we had in 2019 — that was a tough, tough year," he expressed. "And the University of Alaska system, and all of its campuses across the great state of Alaska are rising up bright and hopeful and strong in 2020."