2006 Alumni Achievement awards



Business and Professional Excellence


Margaret Nelson

Margaret Nelson

Margaret Nelson graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Since her graduation from UAF, Margaret has had a tremendous impact on our state as a news reporter, public relations officer and corporate executive in the travel industry, especially in cultural tourism. She has 24 years of combined experience in management, with emphasis on financial stability, operations and start ups; 16 years in executive management, and more than seven years in corporate development and implementation. Margaret is currently a realtor for Prudential Real Estate in Anchorage where she provides services for residential and commercial real estate sales and real estate management throughout Southcentral Alaska. Before her entry into the real estate business, she was a consultant for Susitna Development & Consulting and was the president/CEO for the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

She has received numerous awards as a result of her dedication as a business leader. In 2002, she received the Seymour Award from the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau; in 1999 she received the Outstanding Enhancement of Tourism Award from the Alaska Land Managers Forum; in 1994, she earned the service award from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. On top of earning and achieving awards she has served on numerous boards and is an active volunteer. Nelson is an active member of Rotary International and the Municipal Light & Power Trustee Commission. She is an active board member for the Hospice of Anchorage and was a previous board member of the Alaska Visitors Association, Hospice and Home Health Care of Juneau, and Goldbelt, Incorporated.


Eric McDowell

Eric McDowell

Eric McDowell graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 1966 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, and then went in to complete a master's of business administration in marketing and market research from the University of Oregon Graduate School of Business.

In 1972 Eric developed The McDowell Group, a professional consulting and research firm. The firm specializes in economic and market analyses, public issues research, Native business, cultural issues, and organizational advisory services. He is the leading authority on Alaska's tourism market and the Alaska economy. He was principal in the design of the Alaska Visitor Statistics Program, the largest state tourism market study in the country. Currently he is designing and implementing an on-going Alaska travelers survey program.

Eric has authored three handbooks on tourism development in Alaska communities and Native villages. He is a certified counselor in Alaska and has assisted clients with internal issues. He authored the original Alaska Statistical Review, a statistical history of Alaska's economy. He has been appointed to the Governor's Fishery and Policy Task Force, and has held membership in the International Travel and Tourism Association, the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Visitors Association. He serves on the board of Alaska Pacific Bank, Juneau Recovery Hospital, and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association awards Margaret Nelson and Eric McDowell with the 2006 Alumni Achievement Awards for business and professional excellence.



Community Support

Bernice Joseph

Bernice Joseph

Bernice Joseph graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and in 1998 with a master's degree, also in business administration.

She is currently the executive dean of the College of Rural and Community Development, a position she has held since 2001. As the executive dean, Bernice is responsible for six campuses, three departments and over 3,500 students. She also served as an assistant professor in the Department of Alaska Native and Rural Development at UAF from 1995-2001, worked for the Doyon Foundation, Fairbanks Native Association and has served as the deputy commissioner for the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development under former Governor Tony Knowles.

Bernice's involvement in Alaska communities includes: the Make-a-Wish Foundation board; Midnight Sun Council of the Boy Scouts board; State of Alaska State/Tribal relations team; Commissioner, Alaska Commission on Agin; Alaska Housing and Finance Corporation board and many other organizations.

Bernice was recognized in 2001 by the Alaska Native Education Summit for her commitment to Native education. In 2003 she was selected as Doyon, Limited “Citizen of the Year” and in 2005 she gave the keynote address, “Native Ways of Knowing-Follow the Lights” at the Alaska Federation of Natives Conference.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Bernice Joseph with the 2006 Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support.



University Support

Dana Thomas

Dana Thomas

Dana Thomas graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and received a masters of science in statistics and a doctorate in philosophy from Oregon State University.

Dana returned to UAF as an assistant professor of statistics in 1981, and has become an invaluable member of the university community. Dana has chaired the department of mathematical sciences since 1999 and has been responsible for a $1.1 million budget. On the university level he has served as co-chair of the institutional accreditation steering committee, he was the special assistant to the chancellor for enrollment and assessment, he chaired the campus-wide educational effectiveness evaluation team, was a member of the diversity team and the faculty senate. Dana also has contributed his expertise to many national reports, abstracts and publications.

Some of Dana's honors include UAF Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Teacher in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1982; Outstanding Volunteer, U.S. Embassy, Sana'a, Yemen, 1990; Golden Key Honorary Member 2000; UAF Merit Award for Leadership in Accreditation Review 2002; and the 2005 Emil Usibelli Award for Distinguished Teaching.

It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association presents Dana Thomas with the 2006 Alumni Achievement Award for University Support.

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