Stories of impact

Summer 2024

From the chancellor

See caption and credit below image for description
Chancellor Dan White

Friends of UAF,

On May 4, 2024, the Carlson Center was filled with almost 4,000 people celebrating UAF Commencement. Students, faculty, staff, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and aunties filled the seats of the Carlson to watch the 2024 graduates walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. Though the students walk across the stage alone, we all know that the achievement of a degree is not an individual endeavor. The faculty, staff, friends, family and supporters at commencement and watching the livestream are all part of what it takes for a student to be successful and achieve their degree. And, so are you! The UAF community of alumni and donors makes the student experience at UAF possible. I hope that many of you were able to attend commencement and witness the culmination of your contributions come together in a day of celebration. 

On the topic of celebration, I am proud to share that UAF celebrated another amazing 49 hours of giving this year. In my last message, I asked our alumni to get involved, and you showed up. This year, 449 alumni gave during the 2024 Giving Day. Overall there was a 25% increase in donors. My personal Giving Day challenge went to the fund that received the highest number of individual alumni donations. Thank you to the 58 alumni who gave to Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center. And thank you to all of the alumni who demonstrated their connection to UAF and commitment to our university’s future. 

Though there are fewer students on campus over the summer, UAF will be just as busy as ever in the coming months. Students from across the state will come to Fairbanks to participate in summer camps, community members will gather for events like Music in the Garden, and research will carry on in Fairbanks and field sites across the state. I hope to see many of you at the UAF Nanook Rendezvous later this summer or at other events in the community. 

Thanks for choosing UAF.



Dan White


Recent benefactor highlights

Businesses, corporations, individuals and foundations give generously to UAF. This report reflects gifts and donations totaling $25,000 or more to the University of Alaska Fairbanks between Feb. 1 and April 30, 2024.


Arctic Slope Regional Corporation gave to the GeoFORCE Alaska Support Fund.

ConocoPhillips Alaska gave to the GeoFORCE Alaska Support Fund and Rural Alaska Honors Institute.

Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company gave to the Mining and Petroleum Training Service Support Fund.

Hilcorp Alaska gave to the Hilcorp Arctic Fisheries Support Fund.

Kinross Alaska gave to the UAF First Gen Support Fund and CBSM Arctic Innovation Competition Support Fund, and it became the presenting sponsor for the 2024 Blue and Gold Celebration.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration gave to the Alaska Space Grant Program Support Fund.

Usibelli Coal Mine established the Usibelli Coal Mine UAF Ski Trail Development Fund.


William ’73 and Andrea Benitz gave to the Jack Distad Memorial Scholarship.

Mark Chapin ’06 established the Mark W. Chapin Music, Art, and Theatre Endowed Scholarship.

Charles and Susan Dunn gave to the David Burnett Dunn Memorial Endowment.

Nancy L. Eliason gave to the Nancy L. Hastings Eliason Beringian Research Endowment.

Harold F. John* gave to the Ornithology Endowment.

Sarah and Cary Keller established the Nanook Men’s Hockey Endowed Scholarship.


An anonymous donor gave to the Charles C. Georgeson Botanical Garden.

Richard L. and Diane M. Block Foundation gave to the Friends of Museum Exhibits Fund.

Bill Stroecker Foundation gave to the Bill Stroecker Accounting Scholarship and the Bill Stroecker Brass Scholarship.

UAF Hockey Alumni Association gave to UAF Hockey Alumni Association Scholarship for Men's Nanook Hockey and the UAF Alumni Association Hockey Chapter Support for Men's Nanook Hockey Fund.

*indicates deceased


Stories of impact

The distinguished alumnus takes a moment to admire the legacy of Alaska Nanooks hockey.

May 23

Ryan Muspratt, recipient of the 2024 Distinguished Alumnus Award, reached beyond personal goals after a hockey injury and never looked back.

Carol Swarts and a colleague stand by the Arctic Circle sign on the Dalton Highway during their ground squirrel research trip.

May 23

A medical doctor impressed with a UAF professor’s neuroscience work has created a student scholarship in the professor’s name

Jerry Swartz stands with his daughter Judy and son Dave in front of a Cessna 150, the first plane Jerry bought. It was later replaced with a Cessna 180, whose engine Jerry overhauled. Photo courtesy of Peggy Swartz.

Feb 09

Graduate students and family celebrate Jerry Swartz and his birds, mammals and devotion to proper English.

Members of Cold Steel play an ensemble of music with steel drums during a UAF Summer Sessions’ Music in the Garden concert at the Georgeson Botanical Garden in 2015. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.

Feb 08

Dedicated board members work to sustain and improve the beloved Georgeson Botanical Garden.

UAF photo by Amy Chausse.
Kim McFadden, assistant registrar for data and data systems, (at left) and Stephanie Strandberg, records coordinator, show their heart hands during the UAF Military and Veterans Services registration event at the Wood Center in November 2023.

Nov 08

Donors raise more than $14,000 for the Student Support Fund, which provides aid when things go sideways.

From left, UAF esports team members Natalie Lutrell and Max Beiergrohslein join Vice Chancellor Owen Guthrie and Heath Day, GCI's education program senior manager, for a Mario Kart race during a block party event to celebrate upgrades at the Alaska Esports Center on Oct. 6, 2023. UAF photo by Leif Van Cise.

Nov 08

An upgraded internet connection and a new team center give UAF a competitive edge

Photo by Catherine West, courtesy of the Alutiiq Museum.
Don Clark looks for archaeological sites on Chirikof Island in 2005.

Nov 08

Don and Annette Clark left millions to UAF and other institutions.

Photo by Dirk Rohrbach.
During a Yukon River float trip in summer 2023, UAF climate scholars enjoy an evening fire at their campsite on a sandbar.

Oct 09

A unique program at UAF’s Honors College draws hundreds of undergraduates to study climate change — and do something about it.