Giving back to the program that gave him so much
What would help students? How can I help the program? What can I do for the faculty and staff? These questions asked by Matthew Varga ’98, ’09, ’10 several years ago sparked the creation of a charitable fund to support the UAF Community and Technical College’s process technology program.
Varga’s desire to help his alma mater couldn’t have come at a better time. Even as tuition rates and supply costs increased, the program’s budget had decreased. The new UAF CTC Process Technology Support Fund helps with student textbook purchases or book loans, lab supplies and overall support for the students and faculty of the program.
Varga, following in his mother’s footsteps, works in the oil industry. As a leader with Hilcorp Alaska, Varga is paving the way for future process technology students through his charitable giving and example.
“If I wouldn’t have attended UAF, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. I feel empowered, and have the financial resources to give back and help the next group of CTC process technology graduates,” Varga said.
In addition to giving nearly $10,000 to support the process technology program, Varga has also participated in the University of Alaska Giving Day events.
A giving day is a 24-hour (or longer), digitally driven fundraising and engagement campaign with the goal of rallying a university’s or nonprofit’s community behind a particular cause.
By offering challenge gifts during UA Giving Day in 2020 and 2021, Varga encouraged other process technology alumni to give back to the program. In addition, Varga has advocated for UAF to other Hilcorp employees, inspiring and educating them to take advantage of the Hilcorp Giving Program. It helps employees give to the charities about which they care most.
Varga is a lifelong learner with two degrees and two certificates from UAF. After earning a Russian studies bachelor’s degree in 1998, he traveled to Russia to teach English. He then worked on the North Slope, exploring for petroleum with seismic waves. After starting a master’s degree program in Canada, he decided to come home to Alaska.
Like many students, he carried the burden of student loans with him.
A chance conversation with a staff member at UAF led him to the process technology program. He started taking classes, did an internship and loved the hands-on training. He earned an associate degree in process technology in 2010, while also picking up certifications in instrumentation studies in 2009 and in safety, health and environment awareness technology in 2010. He has worked on the North Slope since 2011. He is passionate about helping other Alaskans get the education and training needed to secure high-paying jobs in Alaska. With his Alaska industry peers, he takes every opportunity to share stories and information about the process technology program and the students.
Varga not only has made a difference for current and future process technology students but also has created a way for others to join him in donating to the program that he feels gave him so much. In addition to his current generosity to UAF CTC, he is preparing to establish a CTC process technology student scholarship endowment.
Varga gives to other charitable organizations throughout Alaska’s communities, and UAF appreciates his choice to include UAF CTC within his personal giving priorities.