nanook \na•nu. k\


1: Unpretentious, independent, approachable, grounded in reality and always game. Someone who eagerly draws in those around them for work, study and play. Trusted. Loyal. Refers to hearty individuals who are enlivened by the environment of the vast dynamic laboratory that is Alaska, where a sense of pride comes with everyday living. Those who live in a place that binds, drives, warms and transforms them, a place known as the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- a place that is naturally inspiring.


Alaska significance

  • UAF is America's northernmost Land, Sea and Space Grant institution and one of only a handful of universities in the nation with this triple-crown distinction.
  • UAF played an essential role in Alaska’s statehood. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1955 – 1956 wrote the constitution for the state in the student union building, which was renamed Constitution Hall. The constitution was signed in what was then the university gym and is now Signers’ Hall.
  • UAF has the largest presence, impact and geographic scope of any university in Alaska. In addition to its seven campuses, UAF maintains numerous research stations, learning centers, Cooperative Extension Service offices and Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program offices across the state.
  • UAF is home to the UA Museum of the North, one of the most popular visitor attractions in the state.


  • UAF has been nationally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1934, and offers accredited certificate and degree programs in academic areas ranging from accounting to Yup’ik language and culture.

  • The Princeton Review lists UAF as one of the best regional colleges for the western region of the U.S. UAF is the only university in Alaska to receive this ranking.
  • UAF is the leading PhD-granting university in Alaska.
  • UAF’s College of Engineering and Mines has consistently fielded one of the best steel-bridge-building student teams in the nation. In 2012 the team took second place overall and first place in two different categories at the Northwest Regional competition in Seattle.
  • UAF is home to the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library, the largest library in Alaska.
  • School of Management Native Alaskan Business Leaders took first place in the business plan competition at the American Indian Business Leaders 2010 National Business Leadership Conference.


  • UAF was listed in the top 11 of more than 10,000 institutions worldwide for number of citations in climate change publications, and fourth among U.S. universities.
  • In 2014 UAF will operate the Research Vessel Sikuliaq (pronounced see-KOO-lee-ack], one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world.
  • UAF is home to the Poker Flat Research Range, the largest land-based rocket research range in the world and the only high-latitude rocket range in the country.
  • UAF ranks in the top 150 of the nearly 700 U.S. institutions that conduct research.
  • UAF brings in more than 90 percent of the research dollars for the entire University of Alaska System.


  • In the past 20 years, the Alaska Nanook rifle team has won the NCAA national championship 10 times and was runner-up four times.
  • UAF alumnus Matt Emmons, one of the finest shooters in Alaska history, won a gold medal in the 50-meter prone event at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens and a silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He added a bronze medal in men's three-position rifle in the 2012 London games. Alumna Jamie (Beyerle) Gray broke two Olympic records en route to a gold medal in women’s 50-meter three-position rifle in the London Olympics.
  • In the annual Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup’s 19-year history, the Alaska Nanook hockey team has beaten interstate rival UAA (University of Alaska Anchorage) 11 times.
  • Six recipients of UAF’s Joel Wiegert Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior Man and the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award for the Outstanding Graduating Senior Woman have been student-athletes, including three in the last four years.


  • UAF is one of 41 institutions in the entire country, and the only one in Alaska, to earn a gold rating for sustainability efforts on campus from the Sustainability, Tracking, Assessment and Rating Systems, or STARS. In 2012 we partnered with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center to build a Sustainable Village, a 16-unit housing option designed, built and lived in by students to explore and share sustainable ways of living.
  • Outside magazine named UAF one of the top 25 universities in the country in 2012. The Fairbanks campus is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, with miles of multi-use trails, hundreds of acres of forest, an outdoor climbing wall, a terrain park under construction, and a vibrant Outdoor Adventures program that takes students on wilderness excursions around the state.
  • UAF is a founding member of the University of the Arctic, a consortium of colleges, universities and research organizations in the eight Arctic nations that work together to build strong education and research networks to address the needs of the circumpolar North. 

Notable alumni

  • Margaret “Mardy” Murie, ’24, the first woman graduate and renowned conservationist, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998
  • Jay Hammond, ’49, fourth governor of Alaska
  • Tom Albanese, ’79, ’81, CEO of London-based Rio Tinto, one of the largest mining companies in the world
  • Ben Grossmann, ’95, winner of an Academy Award in 2012 for best visual effects for the movie Hugo
  • Jordan Hendry, ’06, NHL player, Chicago Blackhawks
  • Willie Hensley, matriculate, Alaska Native leader and one of the chief activists for the historic 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
  • George Schaller, ’55, known as one of the founding fathers of wildlife conservation
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