History and mission


History

Gold discoveries in the early 1900s brought sudden changes to the Tanana Valley. In 1906 the hill where UAF now stands became part of a federal Agricultural Experiment Station, and in 1915 U.S. Congress approved money and transferred a piece of land from this station to establish a school of higher education. On May 3, 1917, with a stroke of his pen, Alaska Territorial Gov. John Strong signed the bill to create the institution now known as the University of Alaska. With a federal land grant, the institution began as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines with research and teaching in support of agriculture and mining as its focus. The Alaska Territorial Legislature added funding, and in 1922, when construction of the first building was completed, the college opened its doors to students. In the first year, a faculty of six offered 16 classes to a student body of six. Commencement in 1923 consisted of a single graduate.

The institution quickly began to grow. In 1931 the federal government transferred the entire Agricultural Experiment Station to the college. In 1935 the Alaska Territorial Legislature changed the institution's name to the University of Alaska to reflect the school's expanding role in research, teaching and public service for all Alaska. By then, faculty and course offerings had grown to include a range of liberal arts, science and engineering.

  • One of the first photographed events in the history of the University of Alaska Fairbanks took place in 1915 when Judge James Wickersham presided over the laying of the cornerstone for the college. Historical Photography Collection, Rasmuson Library

    One of the first photographed events in the history of the University of Alaska Fairbanks took place in 1915 when Judge James Wickersham presided over the laying of the cornerstone for the college. Historical Photography Collection, Rasmuson Library

  • Judge James Wickersham, the Alaska territorial delegate to Congress who led the battle to create a college in Alaska, stands in a field of harvested grain at the Agricultural Experiment Station, established in Fairbanks in 1905. The U.S. government used the farm to test the practicality of farming in the Tanana Valley.  Albert Johnson Photograph Collection, Rasmuson Library

    Judge James Wickersham, the Alaska territorial delegate to Congress who led the battle to create a college in Alaska, stands in a field of harvested grain at the Agricultural Experiment Station, established in Fairbanks in 1905. The U.S. government used the farm to test the practicality of farming in the Tanana Valley. Albert Johnson Photograph Collection, Rasmuson Library

  • Sign, UAF photo by Sabra McCracken

    Sign, UAF photo by Sabra McCracken


Mission

Our students come first in our priorities of teaching, research, and service about natural resources, forestry, high latitude agriculture, and geography.

SNRAS educates students for a wide range of career opportunities in agribusiness, government, public service agencies, retail and service industries, human health institutions, the food service and processing industry, financial institutions, youth development agencies, conservation and environmental organizations, farming and, ranching, research, extension, communication, and education. The school covers a broad education in professional knowledge areas combined with foundation courses to develop a well-rounded academic experience.

As the primary land-grant component of the university, SNRAS administers a variety of programs and engages in cooperative efforts with federal, state, and borough governments and agencies.

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