Naturally Inspiring


FY14 Scholarship Program
Click to see the 2014 Scholarship Program

A note from Chancellor Rogers:

Dear Friends,

Good morning and welcome to the 2014 Scholarship and Award Breakfast! Sherry and I are happy you could join us for this early-morning celebration; this is one of our favorite events, as it is truly inspiring to see students and donors together.

Each year, more than $1 million in privately funded scholarships are awarded to UAF students. Your dedication and support of scholarships has a broad impact that stretches beyond our university and its students. The knowledge and understanding garnered by the students you support enrich our community, our state and our world.

As we prepare for our next 100 years, this partnership and investment will only grow. Sherry and I never cease to be impressed with the support of our alumni and friends. Each of you plays a key role in advancing our students’ education and helping them achieve their ambitions. The power of philanthropy is its ability to create a circle of giving; the experiences students have on campus today pave the way for giving in the future. For example, we were excited to learn that alumna Marjorie, ’58, and Leonard Wright included a significant estate gift to UAF in support of scholarships. Their multimillion dollar investment reflects the power philanthropy has on UAF’s academics and students’ experiences.

We sincerely thank you for the generosity you provide students through scholarship support. Your investment is improving our global community, one outstanding student at a time!

Chancellor Brian Rogers

Guest Speakers:


Rachel Blackwell — Balancing Graduate School and Preschool

Rachel is a two-time UAF alumna with a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s of arts in theater. She is currently working toward a post-baccalaureate, K–8 teaching certificate, with the goal of teaching for the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. To stay active in the Fairbanks community, Rachel participates in theater, even producing several shows of her own. 
Rachel is no stranger to hard work. Because of the rigor of the teaching program and the high demands of the School of Education, Rachel has had to scale back her work outside of academia. This has made it an extremely challenging year for her because she has to care for her 3-year-old son, yet she is unable to work. “When I received my scholarships, I was so thankful to have extra help to take care of myself and my son while I go to school to get a job that I know can help support us,” she said. 
Rachel plans to continue her relationship with UAF after graduation, due in part to the experience she has had. “UAF is a wonderful and friendly place to be,” she explained. “Professors and students alike are welcoming and supportive.” Rachel is thankful for the scholarship support she has received. “They help students like me to be able to further their education, when we might not have otherwise been able to,” she said. 
Rachel is the recipient of the 2013–2014 Rev. Bob and Dr. Sharon Swope Scholarship and the Dale A. Durrwachter Elementary Education Teachers Scholarship.

Iris Fletcher - Donors Keep Students Afloat

Iris was born and raised in Homer, Alaska. A senior this year, Iris is looking forward to graduating with a double major in fisheries and biological sciences while minoring in marine sciences. Iris was a competitive swimmer for 14 years, and has played piano and viola for many years — she performs with the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra during its annual Summer Music Festival.
 Iris has received several scholarships while at UAF. “Each one has made me feel like I’m worth something,” she said. “I felt encouraged knowing that others were recognizing my hard work in such a way that would assist me to continue bettering myself.” Iris’ parents were unable to financially assist her in college; as aresult, she depends on scholarships, summer jobs and part-time jobs during the academic year. “My biggest goal is to graduate without taking any student loans,” she said.
The hard work has not taken Iris from her studies. She has made the Chancellor’s List three times and the Dean’s List every semester. “I feel scholarships are very important,” Iris said. “Without scholarships, I would be walking away from college worrying about how to pay for my loans.” After graduation, Iris plans to move to Anchorage and work in the fisheries field for several years before pursuing a master’s degree. “Once I have my master’s and some life experience, I hope to become a science teacherin my home town of Homer, Alaska,” she explained. Iris is sincerely grateful to all those who made her experience at UAF possible. 
Iris is the recipient of the 2013–2014 Mary Louise Rasmuson Undergraduate Fisheries Scholarship and the Al Tyler Memorial Scholarship.
Susan Henrichs

Susan Henrichs — Scholarships Create Possibilities

Provost Susan Henrichs was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She earned abachelor’s degree in chemistry and chemical oceanography from the University of Washington in 1975, and a PhD in chemical oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic

Institution Joint Program in 1980. She joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty in the early 1980s as an assistant professor of marine science in the Institute of Marine Science, which is now part of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. She became provost of UAF in July of 2007, after serving as dean of the Graduate School and vice provost from 2003 to 2007.
Provost Henrichs made her first gift to UAF in the winter of 1982 with a donation to the Ken Turner Memorial Fellowship in support of students seeking a degree in marine sciences. Since then, her generosity has, on campus, included UAF athletics, scholarships, numerous fundraising events and the Annual Fund. “I have been very fortunate and have the resources to help others,” she said. “I think that is an obligation for people who have the ability to do so.”
“I am grateful for the scholarships that I received to attend college 40 years ago,” she explained. “Although I held summer jobs and got some help from my parents, the scholarships made it possible to focus on my studies during the academic year, and that in turn helped me to qualify for graduate school and the academic career that I have had.”
Provost Henrichs recently created a new scholarship to assist students who receive Pell Grants. “I have met many students who struggle financially,” she elaborated. “In a typical academic year, over 2000 of UAF’s students receive Pell Grants, that is, federal financial aid for low-income students. I want more students to be able to complete their degrees in four or five years; I hope if they receive more financial aid, they will be able to complete more credits per semester rather than
working so much to make ends meet.”
Provost Henrichs’ story exemplifies the impact of philanthropy and its ability to change lives through the circle of giving. Forty years ago, the generosity of scholarship donors helped one student. Now, she hopes to inspire others to assist students in reaching their academic goals.
Leonard and Marjorie Wright

Leonard and alumna Marjorie Wright, ’58, leave a legacy for UAF

Leonard and Marjorie Wright, ’58, came to Alaska in 1953 and spent more than two and a half decades here. Marjorie completed her teaching degree at UAF then went on to teach in North Pole while Leonard established a construction business. The Wrights never forgot Alaska and visited over the years after they left the state. Leonard passed away in 2007. When Marjorie died in 2013 at 91, their estate provided more than $2.5 million to UAF to support student scholarships. Galen Dreis, Marjorie’s nephew, spoke about Marjorie and Leonards’ inspiration for giving: “Marjorie and Leonard always helped others and education was important to them — giving back was part of who they were as individuals.” This philanthropic gift is among the largest made by individuals to UAF, and provides for scholarship support for students in any field of study who demonstrate financial need as well as
good academic performance and potential. Qualified students can receive support for up to four consecutive years. A gift of this magnitude will have an enormous impact on students for years to
come, and the Wright’s philanthropic legacy will help generations of students fulfill their educational goals.
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