From the editor

Sharing a culture of philanthropy through stories

See caption and credit below image for description
Photo by Felicia Burud.
Scott Roselius ’81, left, joins Theresa Bakker and Tom Brice ’90 in Arizona to see the Alaska Nanooks take on the Arizona State University Sun Devils in February 2024. Many alumni who attended the event also donate to UAF programs such as athletics. Roselius is the Alaska Nanooks Hockey Alumni Association president, Bakker is interim executive director of UAF University Advancement and Brice is president of the UAF Alumni Association.

Philanthropy might just be the root of the university experience. While the term can be off-putting — some people equate it with billionaires and massive athletic arenas — the history of the word shows that it encompasses so much more.

In the 5th century BCE, the Greek playwright Aeschylus coined the term to mean “love of humanity.” Aeschylus influenced the development of the Greek drama, previously limited to one actor and a chorus. He dreamed of a more complex way for the story to unfold. By adding a second actor to the plot, he unlocked the possibility for dialogue and dramatic tension.

Similarly, the definition of the word philanthropy has expanded. Today it is defined as promoting the welfare of others, especially by the generous donation of money to good causes. Philanthropy encompasses generosity in all its forms. 

At UAF, we’ve defined philanthropy as sharing “time, talent and treasure.” You can see how this plays out when a gift is made. The act of kindness is elevated when it is received and put into action. The story emerges when something grows out of that relationship.

Over the past few years, as part of the For Alaska philanthropic campaign, we’ve found exciting ways to build a culture of philanthropy through stories. One of the best examples is through UA Giving Day where Nanook Nation comes together to share stories and make gifts during a 49-hour Alaska “day.” (Mark your calendars for March 26-28!)

Now you can find all of these stories in one place. In order to strengthen our communications with the UAF community, we recently combined the Chancellor's Report on Philanthropy with the Aurora magazine. Our communications and development teams work closely together to tell stories about how individual donors are making a difference through their contributions. These stories are often an inspiring combination of personal recollections and possibilities.

As a member of Nanook Nation, we want you to know about the positive changes made possible by philanthropy. Now you’ll find these stories alongside features about the research, arts and social sciences made possible by UAF faculty, staff and students. And, of course, you’ll meet some of our alumni who are our legacy. Their achievements underscore the collective efforts of the entire university community. And many of them are our donors!

In the end, what all of these stories have in common is in the ways we share our time and the treasure of our individual talents. Let us know what you think.

All my best,

Theresa Bakker
Aurora editor