Harriet Hess


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.

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