Commencement 2002


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Honorary Degree Recipients

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Honorary Degree Recipients

The honorary degree recipients were selected for significant achievements that have brought distinction to their academic or professional careers, and for their lasting contributions to the state and the nation.

Corey Flintoff was selected to receive a Doctor of Humane Letters and to serve as the commencement keynote speaker.

Rev. David SalmonAthabascan elder Rev. David Salmon, traditional chief of Chalkyitsik and second chief of Interior Alaska villages with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, just celebrated his 90th birthday, was the first Gwich'in to be ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church where he served for more than 42 years.

Salmon has had a life-long interest in education and sharing his cultural knowledge with others through programs such as UAF's Elder in Residence program and the Academy of Elders, an intense immersion program for certified teachers intent on developing K-12 curriculum and teacher training programs. Salmon has collaborated extensively with UAF's anthropology department and has been a Geist lecturer at the University of Alaska Museum for the past five summers. Salmon is considered a master toolmaker and his tools, fish traps and canoes are on display at the museum and in other university buildings. Salmon is a founding member of Denakkanaaga nonprofit elders' organization. In January, the David Salmon Tribal Hall was opened in Fairbanks and dedicated by TCC in recognition of a lifetime of service. Salmon will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws.

John BurnsJohn Burns, a marine mammals biologist, retired from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in 1986 and started a research consulting firm, Living Resources, Inc. Shortly after coming to Alaska as a graduate student in 1960, Burns began studies of walrus and seals associated with sea ice in the Bering and Chukchi seas. In nearly 40 years of work, Burns has produced more than 100 papers and reports that have contributed to the understanding of biology of marine mammals in the subarctic and Arctic.

Burns has had a long collaboration with Alaska Native peoples in the Bering Strait region. In 1991, he was appointed by then Gov. Walter Hickel to a special team to try to resolve the subsistence issue in Alaska. During the Cold War, Burns helped establish an agreement with the former Soviet Union on environmental protection.

Throughout his career he has maintained close relationships with students and faculty at UAF. He currently sits on the board of the University of Alaska Press. Burns will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science.


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