William R. Cashen Service Award
William R. "Bill" Cashen '37 was an alumni director, professor and university marshal, as well as a public servant, historian, family man, proud alumnus and friend to many alumni. Cashen set the example for service to the university and its alumni association. This award is designed to recognize and perpetuate his example and inspire all those associated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Eligibility: Alumni and nonalumni qualify for the award. Only employees of the UAF Alumni Association are excluded.
Criteria for selection: Nominees will be judged on the basis of meritorious service at more than one level of alumni activity. This could include, but is not limited to, serving as a chapter officer, serving on the board of directors, assisting with a project, setting up a scholarship, or serving on a UAF selection committee or advisory council.
2018 William R. Cashen Service Award winner
Kurt Koudelka `96
Kurt was born and raised in Fairbanks, graduating from Lathrop High School in 1993. During high school he was involved in emergency medicine, having completed his first EMT course at age 17 and serving as a volunteer for the Steese Area Volunteer Fire Department. Kurt worked as a student firefighter at UAF from 1993 to 1996, during which he earned two AAS degrees; one in Hazardous Materials Control and the other in Municipal Fire Control. While a student at UAF, Kurt also became an EMT III, continuing his passion for emergency medical services. Kurt was mentored by the late Battalion Chief Phil Rounds and by retired Capt. Jerry Phillips.
Capt. Phillips’ letter of support for Kurt’s nomination states: “In my 40-year career in the Fire Service, there were several student firefighters who stood above the rest in character, dedication and commitment to his profession and community – Kurt was one of those Individuals.”
After UAF, Kurt attended Paramedic School at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Ore., graduating in 1997. He joined the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue in 1999 and is now a lieutenant paramedic. UFD Fire Chief Doug Schrage wrote: “Lt. Koudelka is a credit to UAF and is an inspiration to aspiring UAF student firefighters and paramedics. He is the epitome of a student that developed his passion at UAF and turned it into an education and distinguished career.”
Along with Chief Schrage, Kurt is a charter member of the Student Firefighters Chapter of the UAFAA, a group that came in with 100 founding members to help honor and celebrate UAF’s 100 year anniversary last year.