Alumni Achievement awards

The Alumni Achievement Awards were created in 1991 to recognize outstanding contributions made by graduates and former students of UAF. The areas of recognition include community support, university support, and business and professional excellence. A maximum of five awards in each category can be presented annually. Nominations may be made by alumni, faculty, staff and by the general public. The nomination letter should include information to support the nomination.

The 2014 Annual Awards were presented at the annual awards Rendezvous Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013.

2014 Alumni Achievement award winners

Business and Professional Excellence

C.B. McNeil

C.B. McNeil , ’59

Judge C. B. McNeil was the 1959 president of his senior class at the University of Alaska, now the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He received a juris doctor degree from the University of Montana School of Law in 1966 and is admitted to practice before the Montana Supreme Court, U.S. district courts, U.S courts of appeal and the U. S. Supreme Court. A resident of Polson, Montana, he was elected Lake County District judge in 1984 after 18 years in private practice. He retired in 2013.

C.B. was designated a distinguished military graduate, obtained a regular Army commission and attained the rank of captain before being honorably discharged in 1963 to attend law school.

He served as the president of the Polson Rotary, Polson Jaycees, Flathead Lakers, Polson Outdoors, Polson Chamber of Commerce, Salish Shrine Club and Montana’s Legion of Honor (Shriners who are military veterans). He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

C.B. and his wife JoAnn have two children. Son Charles “Chuck” McNeil is a partner in the Garlington Lohn Robinson law firm in Missoula, Montana, and daughter Jolie is western regional manager for the publisher McGraw-Hill.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association Fairbanks Chapter awards C. B. McNeil with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.

Jeff Roach

Jeff Roach, ’87

Col. Jeff Roach entered the Alaska Army National Guard in 1981 as a helicopter mechanic and UH-1 crew chief with the 1898th Combat Support Assault Company. He attained the rank of sergeant before attending the Alaska Officer Candidate School, where he received the Commandant’s Award for Academic Excellence. He was commissioned on May 5, 1989, as an aviation second lieutenant. After attending the aviation officer basic course and flight school, Jeff served as an aviation section leader, aviation platoon leader, medical evacuation detachment commander, aviation company commander, public affairs detachment commander, 207th Group public affairs officer, aviation battalion S3, 207th Infantry Brigade S3 (FWD) and the Joint Forces Headquarters aviation branch chief. He served as the 1-207th Aviation Regiment commander from January 2008 to February 2011. Roach also served as the Alaska Army National Guard chief of staff. He currently is commander of the 38th Troop Command, an Alaska Army National Guard brigade.  

During his career as an Army aviator, Roach has flown the UH-1H/V, OH-58A/C and the UH-60A/L helicopters. His deployments include a tour in Europe in support of Operation Joint Guard, as well as tours in Afghanistan and Kosovo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  

He has a bachelor’s degree in natural resource management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a master’s degree in management from Webster University, and a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Air Force Air University.   

Jeff’s awards include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Action Badge. 

Jeff is married to Sherilyn and has three children: Amber, Daniel and Victoria. He lives and works in Fairbanks, where he is the Northern Region planning manager for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association Fairbanks Chapter awards Jeff Roach with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.

John Power

John Power, ’88, ’98

John Power is a volcano seismologist and scientist-in-charge at the Alaska Volcano Observatory and a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Anchorage.

John received his PhD from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1998. He has a bachelor’s degree in geology and geography from the University of Montana and a master’s degree in geophysics from UAF.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association Fairbanks Chapter awards John Power with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.


Community Support

Lynda Sather

Lynda Sather, ’98

Lynda Sather began working for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District as the community and public relations director in 1985 and served in that position for 22 years. In 2008, Lynda joined Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. as the Fairbanks communications manager. She retired in June 2013.

Lynda has served on the United Way of the Tanana Valley Board of Directors since 2008 and has been board president since 2011. She has served on the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She also has been a Sunday school teacher, Cub Scout leader, Fairbanks Curling Club Women’s Association board member, Lathrop High School PTA president and UAF Community and Technical College Community Advisory Council member.

Lynda graduate from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in French and English literature and from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1998 with a master’s degree in communication.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association Fairbanks Chapter awards Lynda Sather with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.


University Support

Gene Therriault

Gene Therriault, ’80, ’83

Gene Therriault was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1992 at the age of 32. He served in the Legislature for the following 17 years. While in office, his colleagues chose him to serve two terms as co-chair of the House Finance Committee and one term as president of the Alaska Senate.

Following his legislative service, Gene was employed by Gov. Sean Parnell as a senior policy advisor on in-state energy. He worked closely with the governor and agency personnel in efforts to help Alaska navigate toward a more certain energy future.

In January 2011, Gene joined the management team at Golden Valley Electric Association as vice president of resource development and external affairs. He participated in efforts to develop the Eva Creek Wind Project, restart the Healy Clean Coal Plant and develop natural gas generation in Fairbanks. He also interacted with the state team working on the Susitna/Watana hydroelectric project. Since 2012, he has worked as the Alaska Energy Authority’s deputy director for statewide energy policy development.

Gene is a lifelong Alaskan. He was born and raised in North Pole and is a 1978 graduate of North Pole High School. From UAF, he earned an associate degree in computer information systems in 1980 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1983.

Gene and his wife Jo Kuchle, a fellow 1983 graduate of UAF, have two children, Justin and Jordyn. In his free time, Gene enjoys traveling, particularly internationally. He is always on the hunt for the world’s best roller coaster.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association Fairbanks Chapter awards Gene Therriault with the 2014 Alumni Achievement Award.

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