Every October 12th, ALSC offices close to commemorate Robert Hickerson Day.
Robert was ALSC’s Executive Director from 1984 until June 2001, when he passed away after a courageous 7-year on-again-off-again battle with a brain tumor. Robert was and still is a stellar example of all we should hope to be as advocates for our communities and as people. ALSC staff who were lucky enough to work for Robert before he passed have always been inspired by his courageousness, his absolute commitment to our cause, community and clients, as well as the way he assured that every person at ALSC understood they were a part of this team and capable of making a difference.
During his tenure with ALSC, Robert was instrumental in establishing the new NARF office in Anchorage; served as a member of the UAA Paralegal Advisory Committee; spent many years on the Municipality of Anchorage’s Human Services Task Force; provided the leadership that sparked the Partners in Justice Campaign in its early days; received the 2000 Equal Access to Justice Award given by the Alaska Civil Liberties Union; and was a key figure in the Access to Civil Justice Task Force that was established by the Alaska Supreme Court to increase access to the civil justice system.
Following his death, Robert was honored by the Alaska Bar Association through the creation of the Robert Hickerson award, which is awarded to recognize outstanding dedication and service in the provision of pro bono legal services, and by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association through the creation of Pierce-Hickerson Award, which honors outstanding contributions to the advancement and/or preservation of Native American rights.
Robert dedicated his life to serving and empowering Alaska’s tribes and low-income people and he made a big difference in the lives of everyone who had the good fortune to know him. We are forever grateful to Robert, and the lasting impact he made here at ALSC.