Naturally Inspiring


James Gilchrest
James Gilchrest

UAF inspires me to be fearless. Thanks to gifts from donors like you, I am able to push myself in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. UAF is a unique place, and I have gained leadership opportunities that I might not have received elsewhere — I am the vice president of finance for Alpha Phi Omega (the co-ed service fraternity), the president of the Student Veterans of UAF and president of Students Offering Leadership Development. I am also the student assistant for New Student Orientation and a student ambassador.

Thank you for your continued support for students like me. Your donation demonstrates that you believe in students and that you truly wish to create a better future for Alaska. Inch by inch is a cinch. Yard by yard is hard. If we work together, we can make such a big difference in each other’s lives — whether it’s through service or by making a donation. I choose to do both. Last year, I became a UAF donor, and I humbly ask that you join me in giving again this year.

Spc. E-4 James Gilchrest, ’17, BA emergency management and homeland security
Recipient of Student Investment Fund Scholarship 

Lakeidra Chavis
Lakeidra Chavis

Thanks to donors like you, I am the first college graduate in my family. Growing up in rural Arkansas, I knew I wanted to go to college, but it often seemed like an inaccessible or unrealistic goal. As a first-generation college student, I am leading the way for my brother and cousins, who I hope will also be college graduates one day. I absolutely would not be where I am today — a college graduate — without the scholarships I received at UAF. Thank you.

Without the help of scholarships, I would not have had the rich experiences of volunteering and working to help others while also gaining important experience related to my career goals. I was a student phonathon caller last year. It was such a pleasure to speak directly with friends and alumni like you who give so generously to UAF.

Lakeidra Chavis, ’15, BA psychology — Recipient of LarVern I. and George L. Keys Scholarship, Velma Hubbard Memorial Scholarship, Andrew Nerland Scholarship

Libby and Tiana
Watch the duo share their inspiring story at


As registrar, I have seen a lot of changes at UAF. I was with the university during the ‘80s, when our state faced some very serious economic troubles — much like we are now. One thing that hasn’t changed at UAF is our sense of family and community. For me, being part of a community means giving a little back. 

I first started giving in 2011 to the A. Ruth Evern Scholarship, to honor my friend Ruth after her passing. Giving back felt so good that I have continued giving every year. Receiving my annual phonathon call is something I sincerely look forward to each year. Speaking directly to a student like Tiana about her experience, I learned that donors like you and me truly make a difference in students’ lives. Giving, no matter the amount, is a concrete way to show that we believe in students and want them to succeed. When they walk across that stage on graduation day, knowing we had a little something to do with it — priceless.


I joined the phonathon as a student caller in the fall semester of 2013. Calling strangers was a little intimidating at first, but very quickly I learned just how special the UAF community is. Sometimes I wouldn’t get a donation, but I would have the most interesting conversation with an alum and learn so much! Every once in a while, I would have a truly fantastic connection, like I did with Libby. Her belief in me really motivated me to work harder. 

Phonathon was one of the most important things I did in college. I learned so much — most importantly about the kindness of strangers like you. Thank you. In fact, I was so inspired by you, last year I became a donor myself! I learned that if everyone gives a little, together we can accomplish so much. 

Corporate and foundation giving

Marisa Sharrah (pictured above), public affairs officer with Flint Hills Resources, visits with students attending the Alaska Summer Research Academy in the Reichardt Building on the Fairbanks campus. ASRA offers engaging and in-depth experiences in science and engineering to youth from middle school through high school. The Alaska Summer Research Academy promotes creativity and intellectual curiosity through hands-on, open-ended experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Flint Hills Resources has been a longtime supporter of the program along with their support of other areas at UAF.

Recently, Flint Hills renewed its support of UAF with a gift of $110,000. The School of Management, the Alaska Summer Research Academy and the Athletic Department will each receive $20,000. The CTC process technology program and the College of Engineering and Mines will receive $25,000 each. Flint Hills Resources Alaska has been a steadfast partner with UAF for many years. This new gift is above and beyond their $25,000 donation in support of the UA Museum of the North. 

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