William R. Cashen Service Award
William R. "Bill" Cashen '37 was a former alumni director, professor, and marshal emeritus, historian, public servant, family man, proud alumnus and friend to many Alumni. Cashen set the example for service to the university and its alumni association. This award is designed to recognize and perpetuate his example and inspire all those associated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Eligibility: Alumni and non alumni qualify for the award. Only employees of the UAF Alumni Association are excluded.
Criteria for Selection: Nominees will be judged on the basis of meritorious service at more than one level of alumni activity. This could include, but is not limited to, serving as a chapter officer, serving on the board of directors, assisting with a project, setting up a scholarship, serving on a UAF selection committee or an advisory council.
2016 William R. Cashen Service Award winner
Karen Cedzo started her career at the university in 1979 as the first-ever public affairs director. She retired nearly 20 years later as vice chancellor for university relations and institutional advancement, where she oversaw the alumni, development and public relations functions.
Throughout her career, Karen has worked nonstop to inspire Alaskans to advocate for UAF. She started UAF’s first private fundraising campaign, netting nearly $13 million in donations. She initiated UAF’s first statewide television marketing campaign and oversaw the celebration of UAF’s 75th and 80th anniversaries.
Karen drove her Ford Mustang north to Alaska from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1975. She and her husband moved in 1985 to their permanent home outside Delta Junction. She drove the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Delta every weekend for 14 of the 20 years she worked at UAF.
Karen has maintained an active role in the university. She helped promote expansion of the UA Museum of the North. She has served on the UAF Chancellor’s Board of Visitors, the Delta Chamber of Commerce and as a director for Golden Valley Electric Association. She currently serves on the UAF Community and Technical College’s Community Advisory Council and is a trustee of GVEA’s Goodcents Foundation. She helped create Partners for Progress in Delta Inc., a nonprofit consortium that provides career training.
Karen earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 1973 and a master’s degree in political science in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She is accredited through the Public Relations Society of America. She worked as a broadcast journalist for KTVF-TV and KFRB-AM in Fairbanks before becoming a principal of Northern Information Services, a public relations firm.
She has taught public relations classes in both Fairbanks and Delta, and she takes pride in having mentored many people over the years.