Day Trips & Special Events

First Friday Winter Lecture Series

First Fridays of December, January, and February
3:00 - 4:30 pm in the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center Theatre
FREE and open to the public - Registration is not required. Invite a potential new member!
After the lecture, go on to Fairbanks First Friday events!

December 2, 2016
Who Owns Alaska’s History?
by Ross Coen

Examples from Alaska’s different phases of growth illustrate how answers to this question may be elusive, varied, and contested, but always intriguing and worth asking.

Ross Coen is a generalist, widely published in many phases of the regional history of northwestern North America. He has taught history at UAF and is now completing his doctoral research and writing his dissertation at the University of Washington while on a fellowship to the University of Washington Press. Among his publications are two books, The Long View: Dispatches on Alaska History (2011) and Breaking Ice for Arctic Oil: The epic voyage of the SS Manhattan (2012).


January 6, 2017
Alaska, the Truly Oceanic State: A tale of mystery, romance, exploration and exploitation
by Vera Alexander

Besides being the only state that qualifies the U.S. as an Arctic Rim nation, Alaska's oceanic superlatives include: the longest coastline of the five Pacific Rim states, the only state with direct coastal and port access to the Bering Sea; and being bordered by 70 percent of the nation's total area of submerged continental shelf.  This presentation explores historic intrigues and future challenges stemming from these superlatives.

Vera Alexander was the first woman granted a Ph.D. by the University of Alaska, and capped her academic career as Dean of UAF’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. In her busy retirement, she has found time to contemplate the complex layers involved with stewardship over the many distinct marine environments bordering Alaska.


February 3, 2017
Centennial Memorial Ascent of Denali
by Sam Alexander

On June 7 1913, Walter Harper, Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens and Robert Tatum were the first climbers ever to reach the true (south) summit of Denali, with essential support provided by Alaska Native teens John Fredson and Esaias George. In June of 2013, descendants of these six men came together to celebrate the centennial by making their own ascent of Denali along the original route, with support from guides from the Alaska Mountaineering School.

Sam Alexander was raised in Fort Yukon, Alaska. His father was Chief during much of Sam's childhood and set a strong example of service and leadership for Sam and his siblings. Sam graduated from West Point and earned multiple awards for meritorious service in the decade that he served in the U.S. Army. After leaving the military, he attended and graduated from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College with an MBA. Sam now teaches at UAF in the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Program. Sam joined the Denali Centennial Expedition to represent John Fredson, Esaias George and the Fort Yukon community.

 Professor's Choice Lecture Series

various Mondays Feb.  – Mar., 7:00 – 8:00 pm
Murie Auditorium, UAF West Ridge
FREE and open to the public – bring a friend!

Current OLLI members are encouraged, but not required, to register for this as a free course, SOC-01.

This lecture series aspires to share with OLLI members and the general public some of the wealth of knowledge and experience of the University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty. The series spotlights UAF professors and professors emeriti, encouraging them to share topics of their own choice.

Feb. 27: UAF Interim Chancellor Dr. Dana Thomas will discuss "UAF: What are its values and how is it valued?"

Mar. ??: Professor Emeritus of Ecology Dr. Terry Chapin will talk about: A strategy for sustainable change in Alaskan ecosystems and society

Mar. 20: IARC Director and Professor Dr. Hajo Eicken will talk about: TBA.


Day Trips for 2017 will be posted at the beginning of the summer.

  • To Register for a Day Trip:
    Link to OLLI's registration site:
    Log in. (Use the "forgot password" link if you need to have your username and password emailed to you.)

    Select "2016 Day Trips" as the semester; then click "Search."
    The registration process is the same as for classes. OLLI doesn't collect any fees for day trips, but some of the events require you to pay the vendor directly.
    We also take your reservation over the phone. Please call the OLLI office at 474-6607 
    Day trips we did in 2016:
    Alaska Salmon Bake
    Tour of Ursa Major Distillery
    North Pole Peonies & Lilyvale Farm Tour
    Tour of Fairbanks Distilling Co.
    Guardian Flight Hangar Tour (one in July, one in October)
    Chena Flood Control Project Tour

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