DALLAS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – What does Alaska have in common with Pennsylvania? A lot after the 2018 general election. As Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains, the man who will lead our nation’s 49th state got his upbringing and education in northeastern PA.

“In Scranton, we would always go up in the mountains and the hills,” said Alaska politician Mike Dunleavy in a campaign video. The Scranton-born Dunleavy emerged from those mountains and hills to be elected to Alaska’s highest public office. Becoming 14th governor of the state nicknamed “The Final Frontier” marks a first. “I don’t believe we’ve ever had a governor from Misericordia before,” said Misericordia University President Tom Botzman.

Mr. Dunleavy earned a history degree in 1983 at Misericordia and, according to Mr. Botzman, left with so much more than a college diploma. “Taking the lessons of Misericordia about service to others and how to make the world a better place and put it into practice and now he’s the governor-elect.” Misericordia University Associate Professor of History and Government Brian Castro added, “We’ll be talking about that in the History department for decades to come because we tell our students how important a knowledge of history is to do so many different things.”

Students like History/Pre-Law major Stefany Krasson of Plymouth. The senior is excited a Misericordia alumnus won Alaska’s governor’s race. “Getting involved in the law and politics is something that’s very interesting to me and he’d definitely be a role model in this situation,” she said.

After Mr. Dunleavy graduated from Misericordia, he went on to pursue his masters in education in Alaska where he would eventually turn a career in higher education into public service. He served five years as an Alaska State Senator before winning the gubernatorial election 35 years after his college graduation. “Mike was just a solid guy,” said United Way of Wyoming Valley President/CEO Bill Jones.

Mr. Jones was a college basketball teammate of Mr. Dunleavy who he considered a fearless leader on the court who wanted to make a difference off it. “He went to Alaska because there was opportunities. He went from teaching to administration to wanting to serve a larger community.”

Now, Mr. Dunleavy will serve our nation’s largest state using what he learned in his native northeastern Pennsylvania. Mr. Dunleavy is not the only Misericordia University graduate to hold public office. PA State Representative Karen Boback (R-Columbia/Luzerne/Wyoming) earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at Misericordia.