Paul Reichardt


The Reichardt Building on the Fairbanks campus was dubbed simply the “natural sciences facility” when it was completed in 1994. That’s not the year it opened, though.

Paul Reichardt, the man for whom the building later was named, explained what happened during an interview in 2017. The structure was complete, but there was no money to equip it.

“So there’s this beautiful building sitting empty,” he said. He and a few others decided to enlist the help of the crowds who attend the annual Science Potpourri, a public demonstration of UAF’s scientific talent that was originally held at Wood Center.

“We decided to move it that spring to the shuttered brand-new science building, put up plywood in a lot of the hallways so people couldn’t go in there, and to post on each of the doors a petition to the Legislature asking for $5 million to outfit the building,” Reichardt said. “And so at the end of the day I think we had, I don’t know, close to a thousand signatures on butcher paper that we packaged up and sent down to Juneau. And it worked — we got $3 million.”

The building opened in 1995.

At the time, Reichardt was in his fourth year as dean of what today is the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Reichardt grew up near St. Louis, Missouri, and earned an undergraduate degree from Davidson College, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. After earning a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, he began his UAF career as a chemistry faculty member in 1972. At UAF, he built a reputation as a superb teacher, mentor and faculty collaborator.

Reichardt served as UAF’s provost from 1998 through 2007. As he retired, the University of Alaska Foundation awarded him the Edith Bullock Prize in recognition of his leadership and dedication to the university.

Reichardt and his wife, Terry, are active members of the broader Fairbanks community. Terry is well-known for her gardening expertise, which she shares through UAF Cooperative Extension Service classes.

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