About the Founder
Elmer E. Rasmuson was born on 15 February 1909 in Yakutat, Alaska, to Jenny Olson Rasmuson and Edward Anton Rasmuson, both missionaries of the Swedish Evangelical Church. Edward, more out of necessity than design, eventually became the president of the Bank of Alaska, and Elmer followed in his father's footsteps after graduating with a S.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University in 1930.
As stated by Elmer at the 18 March 1998 annual meeting of the Center, "Since I was into the banking business and am identified with the whole inauguration of branch banking in Alaska, I knew that fishing is very important in all our communities. Some of our communities are almost entirely fishing, others are predominately that. I know the strong economic and social issues. If you are going to be concerned with the loaning of money for homes and small businesses, you necessarily have to get involved and be interested in the fishing business."
Elmer's appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of fisheries influenced his vision and philosophy for the Center, presented in his memoirs published in year 2000: "In the course of my involvement in fisheries matters, I have become aware of the perceived shortcomings of our fishery schools at the major universities. Most of our schools are primarily devoted to the biological issues as the basic starting point, and rightly so. However, other considerations are of equal concern, such as legal and economic issues, international relations, environmental, and recreational concerns."