Harriet Hess was a trustee and regent from the university’s founding in 1917 until her death in 1951, the longest such service to date.
Hess played a part in a few key events early in the university’s history. In June 1915, she accompanied James Wickersham to the ridge west of Fairbanks where she tied a handkerchief to a branch to mark the site for a symbolic cornerstone for the college. Six years later, she and other trustees were in a downtown drugstore discussing who could lead the newly created institution when Charles Bunnell, a recently deposed judge, walked by. Hess allegedly said, “There, of course, is the man we should get.” Bunnell’s subsequent 28-year service as president has yet to be matched.
Hess was a schoolteacher and wife of a prominent Fairbanks businessman and territorial legislator, Luther Hess.
More online about Harriet Hess:
- A University of Alaska biography
- An early history of the college written by Hess and published by the Farthest North Collegian
- An article about Hess’ college roommate and fellow teacher in Juneau, Grace Vrooman, who later married James Wickersham.