Inspiring a culture of giving
"I want to maintain a connection to the university and ensure that the next generation of students not only has the same opportunities that I did, but even more."
Jason Gootee, '05
"UAF has always struck me as a 'diamond in the rough' sort of place," shares UAF alumnus Jason Gootee. "It's a wonderful university with a lot of wonderful people in one of the most unique places on earth."
What ultimately defined Jason's stay at UAF were the people. "Obviously the friendships forged will last a lifetime, and I was fortunate enough to fall under the teachings of a few outstanding faculty members, like Frank Soos, the late Susan Herman, as well as Eric Heyne and Joe Dupras in the English Department."
"It's hard to single out any one thing or event that defined my time at UAF. Instead it was just the whole experience that intertwined in my five years as a student -- parties with friends in the dorms and SAC, late-night Chena Hot Springs trips, the classes and studies that went with them, even just staring at the northern lights or weekend movies at the Goldstream Theatre. These are the things that will always stand out in my memories."
One piece of advice Jason received when he was starting college was that it wasn't so much what he studied, but that he earned a degree. "This," Jason shares, "explains why I have a bachelor's degree in English and now work in the health care industry."
Jason Gootee set up his recurring gift to UAF shortly after graduation nearly four years ago, and has been giving consistently ever since. "I am of the opinion that if you manage to be successful after college, it is your obligation to take care of your alma mater," he says. "I owe a lot to this university, and it makes me feel good to give something back. Alaska needs a first-class university for the future, and I take a lot of pride in helping UAF achieve that mission."
"The skills gained at UAF have been indispensable in the private business world. At the end of the day, you need to be able to write well, communicate effectively and know how business works. I learned all of this at UAF and more."
Now a resident of Anchorage, Jason works full time for ODS Alaska, a private health insurer. Jason also takes advantage of ODS Alaska's matching gift program.
He gives through the UAF Annual Giving program. Young alumni like Jason are laying the groundwork for future philanthropic networks and major donors to UAF. "It makes me feel good to give something back," he says. "Hopefully the small something that I give now will turn into a much larger something as time goes on. Young alumni are helping shape the university for years to come."
Through steady gifts to the Annual Giving program, UAF can offer scholarships to deserving students, hire the most knowledgeable professors, and ensure world-class education and research that is steeped in northern tradition and focused on vital issues facing our world today.