In December 2011, the Zuckerman family gave UAF an early holiday gift — a substantial boost to our academic programming and one of the largest single gifts ever given from an individual to the University. Dr. Jeffrey and Jo Zuckerman donated a 50-acre parcel of land off McGrath Road in Fairbanks, part of a residential subdivision the family developed, valued at $960,000. The Zuckermans’ generosity stems from a strong belief in the importance of education. The proceeds from the sale of the property established the Bianca M. Zuckerman Academic Excellence/Programmatic Research Endowment. The fund honors daughter, Bianca, a 2010 UAF graduate, who credits her education here with inspiring a thirst for learning in a broad range of subjects. Bianca directed the support to two academic programs that had a profound impact on her during her studies at UAF — Spanish and psychology — and for the research conducted by faculty member Kelly Drew at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology. While in high school Bianca helped Drew study the hibernation of arctic ground squirrels. The Zuckermans’ endowed fund will ensure student and research funds in perpetuity.To watch the interview with Dr. Zuckerman, click the photo above or watch the video here.
In September 2011, Sumitomo Pogo Joint Venture gave $1,059,000 to support graduate student research in mining engineering at UAF. The gift is dedicated to the UAF College of Engineering and Mines’ Mining Engineering Research Endowment and will provide research funding for qualified masters and doctoral candidates in the field. The company is also a major supporter of the Silver Fox Mine, which is run by UAF students and provides hands-on experience for future miners and engineers. As one of the oldest mining programs in the country, UAF has trained mining engineers to work across Alaska and throughout the world since 1917. Sumitomo, which owns a large gold mining operation near Delta Junction, employs 340 people including several UAF graduates, and plans to continue hiring our alumni in the foreseeable future. Pogo Mine General Manager Chris Kennedy notes that the company is proud to be making a difference in the lives of Alaskans and a contribution to workforce development in the state. In making the gift, the company enjoyed the benefits of the Educational Tax Credit, available to businesses that pay business taxes to the State of Alaska. To see the interview with General Manager Chris Kennedy and External Affairs Manager Lorna Shaw, click the logo above or view here.
Kinross Fort Knox, a gold mining operation located 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks, helped establish the UAF College of Engineering and Mines’ Mining Engineering Research Endowment with a $25,000 gift given in early 2011. Later in the year they pledged $990,000 toward the endowment, providing inspiration for other mining corporations to support research at UAF and take advantage of the Alaska Educational Tax Credit. Graduate-level research funding is especially valuable in the mining industry, where students can make meaningful contributions and important connections toward their future career. Kinross Fort Knox and its more than 550 local employees already have a strong reciprocal relationship with UAF. Students and faculty regularly collaborate with Kinross’ Fort Knox mine on research projects, and mining engineering graduates have found work in their chosen field close to home. Fort Knox employees have served on UAF advisory boards frequently since the mine was established in 1995. To see the interview with Vice President and General Manager Dan Snodgress, click the logo above or view here.
Helga and Bill Watterson met on the University of Alaska campus, where Bill played for the Nanooks men’s basketball team from 1961 through 1963. He graduated from the university in 1964 with his BS in civil engineering and Helga matriculated in 1962. In 1972, Helga and Bill — after a stint in California — returned to Alaska and in 1981 founded Watterson Construction. Helga retired in 2006 and Bill still works full time in the business. Watterson Construction, one of the largest Alaskan-owned and operated construction companies in Alaska, has helped change the skyline in Anchorage, Fairbanks and on Alaska military installations. In 2003, the company was the general contractor for the construction of the UAF West Ridge Research Building. Helga and Bill have been supporters of UAF since shortly after their departure from campus. They made their first gift in 1975, and have contributed continuously through the Annual Giving Program since 1994. They always designate their gifts as “unrestricted,” giving the university the flexibility to dedicate the funds where needed. In 2000, they established the Bill and Helga Watterson Scholarship for engineering students interested in a career in the construction industry. Their membership in the Legacy Society demonstrates their wish to continue to support UAF far into the future. Bill serves on the UAF Board of Visitors. He and Helga were honored by the UAF Alumni Association in 2004 with the Business and Professional Excellence Alumni Achievement Award. To watch the interview with Bill Watterson, click the photo above or watch the video here.
John Mingé, President of BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., visited the UAF Community and Technical College in September 2011 to make a very special dedication. BP had delivered a working wellhead to the CTC Process Technology program, which offers a two-year associate degree that prepares graduates for employment in oil and gas production, as well as other industries. It had been used at Prudhoe Bay and then refurbished, thus giving students in the program the experience of training on the same equipment they will use in the field. It is one of very few working models in a classroom in the country. But BP Alaska’s commitment to higher education goes back many years, as the company has worked closely with UAF in order to ensure that our graduates continue to be highly qualified in science, engineering and business fields, as well as skilled oil field operators and technicians. In addition, BP’s gifts to many other parts of the University — the Ted Stevens Papers Project at the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, the UA Museum of the North and many others — demonstrate a breadth of support that is truly awe-inspiring. To see the interview with BP's Vice President Resources and UAF Advisory Committe member Janet Weis, click the logo above or view here.
THANK YOU for being an integral part of UAF's mission, and for making an impact on our students and programs. Your support is vital to the success of Alaska’s first university. Your dedication to UAF is reflected in our top-notch programs, world-renowned research, diverse outreach and essential scholarships. You are changing lives and inspiring future leaders.
“UAF means opportunity, fun and community. For a place this cold, I’ve been amazed by the warmth.” — Ben Abbott, Recipient of the W. Scott Parrish Memorial Scholarship.
“Sometimes opportunities are just out of reach. For me, these scholarships were the extra boost that made these opportunities possible.” — Heather Bryant, Recipient of the Cliff Brennen Journalism Scholarship
View the full 2012 Celebration of Giving program, including a listing of past honorees, here.