Robert Bruce Atwood Edit Profile
AB, Clark University, 1929. Doctor of Letters (honorary), Alaska Methodist University, 1967. D.Journalism (honorary), University Alaska, 1979.
Doctor of Laws (honorary), Alaska Pacific University, 1996.
They had two daughters, Marilyn and Elaine. Anchorage Times and Alaska statehood
Atwood moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1935. Under his guidance, it became Alaska's largest daily newspaper.
In 1949, the Alaska Territorial Legislature formed the Alaska Statehood Committee, appointing Atwood as Chairman. His pro-statehood lobbying efforts included visits to Washington, D.C. and a steady stream of articles in his newspaper, such as a 1955 editorial where he argued that whereas commonwealth status was "wonderful" for Puerto Rico, "it wouldn't give Alaskans self-government, control of resources, tax exemptions or any of a number of benefits claimed by its supporters here."
The investment was to yield a fortune after Richfield Oil (merged into ARCO in 1966) discovered oil in 1957 near the Swanson River. On June 30, 1958, the United States Senate passed the bill admitting Alaska into the Union.
Atwood's Anchorage Daily Times celebrated with a headline in six-inch type: “WE’RE IN.”
Philanthropy and retirement
In 1962, Atwood endowed the Atwood Foundation to promote education and the arts. In 1979, he established the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage. In 1987, Atwood's wife, Evangeline Rasmuson Atwood, died.
The Alaska Center for the Performing Arts was constructed in 1989, with the largest performance space designated as the Evangeline Atwood Concert Hall. In 1990, Robert Atwood stepped down as editor and sold the Anchorage Times (as the Anchorage Daily Times had been renamed) to Bill Allen of petroleum services giant VECO. Atwood's daughter Marilyn died in 1994. Robert B. Atwood died on January 10, 1997.
At the time of his death, Robert Atwood was collaborating with journalist John Strohmeyer on a biography. After Atwood's death, Strohmeyer completed the work under the title Alaska Titan. But before it could be published, Atwood's daughter, Elaine, sued to prevent it from being distributed.
In 1999, Strohmeyer and Elaine Atwood entered into an agreement giving Elaine Atwood two years to produce her own biography, to be entitled Bob Atwood's Alaska. Bob Atwood's Alaska did not appear until after Elaine Atwood's death in 2003. In 1998, the Robert B. Atwood Building at 550 W. Seventh Avenue in Anchorage was named by the Alaska State Legislature.
The Atwood name also appears in the Atwood Center at Alaska Pacific University.
Chairman Alaska Statehood Committee, 1949-1959. Honorary Norwegian consul at Anchorage, 1960-1986. Member civilian affairs board Alaskan Air Command, since 1962, now chairman.
Board directors Commonwealth North. Founder Atwood Foundation. Elder Presbyterian Church.
Sponsor International Airline Ski Races, Alyeska. Elder Presbyterian church. Member American Society Newspaper Editors, American Polar Society (board governors), Chamber of Commerce (president 1944, 48), Society Professional Journalists, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Explorers Club, National Press Club, Sons of Norway, Anchorage Rotary (founder), Elks, Masons, Pioneers of Alaska, Anchorage Ski Club (founder, 1st president), Anchorage Rotary Club (founder).
Married Evangeline Rasmuson, April 2, 1932(deceased November 1987). Children: Marilyn A. Odom (deceased), Sara Elaine.
1926 - 1929
1929 - 1934
1935 - 1989
1989 - 1992
Recipient award for 25 years outstanding service to community and state, 1984, award for lifetime achievement Alaska Press Club, 1995.