Chancellor's Report

June 2014

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Lawrence Kaplan, director of the Alaska Native Language Center and a UAF linguist, received a Denali Award from the Alaska Federation of Natives for his work revitalizing Alaska Native languages. This is the highest honor given to a non-Native person by the AFN. Kaplan is known for his work with the Inupiaq Eskimo language, which is spoken in northern Alaska. He is presently compiling dictionaries of Inupiaq, including grammatical explanations for the language.



UAF’s 92nd commencement ceremony was held in Fairbanks on May 11. Alaska Federation of Natives President Julie Kitka and Native leader Robert Nick received honorary doctor of laws degrees, and wildlife biologist Rod Boertje received an honorary doctor of science degree. Approximately 1,433 students received 1,521 certificates or degrees. Of those, 232 students received master’s degrees and 49 received doctoral degrees. 

A $2.5 million gift from former Fairbanks residents Leonard and Marjorie Wright will support scholarships to provide up to four years of assistance to students in any degree program who demonstrate both merit and financial need. Marjorie Wright, who graduated from UAF in 1958, made the donation through her will. It’s one of the largest individual donations in UAF’s history. 

The recipients of the 2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards were announced at a Fairbanks reception in May. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Joseph Thompson received the teaching award, Professor of Ecology and Ecosystems Roger Ruess received the research award and Research Professor of Soil Microbiology and Science Education Elena Sparrow received the service award. 

The Rasmuson Fisheries Research Center board members selected six fellowship recipients for the 2014–15 academic year. This marks the 20th year the center has awarded fellowships to the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences students. This year’s awards, totaling $233,169, include tuition and a stipend to support graduate student research. 

UAF students raised $27,500 by connecting with more than 230 donors this spring as part of the biannual phonathon. This effort brings the total amount raised by student callers this academic year to more than $75,000 from more than 600 donors. 

A new process that purifies Alaska pollock liver oil has resulted in a commercially produced diet supplement. Alex Oliveira, associate professor with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, developed the molecular distillation process. American Marine Ingredients, a subsidiary of American Seafoods Co., adapted Oliveira’s process and recently released the product, 54°North Omega-3 with vitamin D3 in capsule form. 


In Progress

UAF’s skyline is changing dramatically this summer as nearly 450 tons of steel have been put into place for the new engineering facility. The 260-foot crane rising above Tanana Loop added to the excitement as the building began to take shape. 

The new Wood Center dining expansion opens mid-July. The addition will house a new dining area and kitchen, which connects to the existing food court on the second level and a new coffee shop on the ground floor. 

Significant deferred maintenance and access improvements will take place in and around the Gruening Building May through August, including a roof replacement. 

New stairs will be installed from the Taku parking lot to the Fine Arts Complex. These will replace the existing steep and sometimes slippery concrete walkway. 


What's Next

Singer-songwriter Ari Hest will return to Fairbanks and is scheduled to perform June 6 at the Charles Davis Concert Hall. 

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for NASA’s new antenna, known as AS3, will take place June 26. The antenna was installed on the Fairbanks campus during the summer of 2013. 

The Political Junkie roadshow with Neal Conan and Ken Rudin will take place on the Fairbanks campus this summer. The show, scheduled for July 11 in the Wood Center ballroom, features in-depth analysis of the key political races in Alaska and across the country. 

While in Fairbanks, Conan, a former National Public Radio host and producer, will also teach a one-credit radio course, Sound and the Story: Evolution of Radio Journalism, July 7–10. The course may be taken as noncredit.


through the lens: recent images


UAF admissions counselor Aaron Acevedo leads a group of high school juniors and seniors on a campus tour during the Discover UAF: Inside Out preview event in March. Nearly 45 students took advantage of on-the-spot admissions and were accepted to UAF at the event. 

During such previews, prospective students and their parents have an opportunity to ask questions, get answers and learn about student life — from the inside out. 

The next event is scheduled to take place June 27.


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Photos, clockwise from left 

Members of the Nanook swim team peer out the windows while touring one of the newest planes in the Alaska Airlines fleet, a Bombardier Q400 turboprop, which features a paint scheme highlighting the Alaska Nanooks and UAF. 

A 260-foot crane hoists steel beams as the floors take shape at the construction site of the new engineering facility

Theatre major Katrina Kuharich reflects upon her costume, which she wore in the Theatre UAF production of Tartuffe, during a fitting in the department’s costume shop. 

Students challenge themselves with suspension training as part of a group fitness class in the Student Recreation Center

[See captions above]

UAF photos by Todd Paris.

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