Distinguished Alumnus Award

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the association's most prestigious award. It was first awarded in 1962 and continues to annually recognize living graduates of UAF. Alumnus/alumna are selected for the award based on specific meritorious service on behalf of the quality and advancement of UAF; distinguished accomplishments in business and professional life; and/or distinguished human service in community affairs.

All alumni are encouraged to nominate individuals for the Distinguished Alumnus Award. There must be three letters of support for the nomination, all from UAF graduates or former students. The nomination should include information on the candidate's life achievements.

2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award winner

Chantal R. Walsh `85

Since earning her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from UAF in 1985, Chantal Walsh has worked to resolve critical technical challenges to improve recovery of Alaska’s oil and gas. During a span of more than 30 years, she has held positions with BP, Arco, Chevron and Petrotechnical Resources Alaska.

Chantal also has remained a steadfast advocate for UAF and engineering education. In all her jobs, Chantal has mentored young engineers and interns. When Arco honored Chantal with its Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 1999, she contributed part of the award to UAF. She serves as vice chair of the College of Engineering and Mines’ advisory council and was a member of the Department of Petroleum Engineering’s advisory board. She has championed completion of the new UAF engineering building with regents, legislators and oil and gas industry leaders.

Born in Cordova, Chantal spent several years in her mother’s native France before moving to Anchorage with her parents, three brothers and two sisters. Her father, Tom Tunley, also graduated from UAF’s engineering program before receiving a master’s degree in mining engineering from Stanford University.

Chantal lives in Anchorage with her husband, Tom, and her three children, Sophie, Alexander and Marshall.

Chantal’s volunteer activities are extensive. She has served as a judge for the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ prestigious Petrobowl competition for students representing universities around the world. She has led sessions and committees at several SPE regional meetings. Chantal commits her time, talents and financial resources to the United Way of Anchorage, Habitat for Humanity, her local PTA (even though her children are now grown) and a variety of other local nonprofits.

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