Bob White


Muskoxen roam a picturesque field north of UAF thanks in large part to the man whose name adorns the former homestead.

Robert G. White founded the Large Animal Research Station in 1979 with a nearly half-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. He rejuvenated the site’s muskoxen herd and then brought caribou to the station so they could be studied.

White’s contributions range far beyond that accomplishment, though. The UAF professor emeritus has produced a vast number of publications on the physiology and ecology of these animals and others.

White grew up in central Australia and earned respective bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in agriculture, physiology and nutritional biochemistry. He came to UAF in 1970 for a year or two of post-doctoral work but never left. 

White joined the UAF biology faculty in 1972. He led the Institute of Arctic Biology twice, most recently for six years prior to his retirement in 1998. 

In the broader Fairbanks community, White is probably known as much for his skill with a bagpipe as his scientific prowess. He learned to play as a teen in rural Australia.

After retiring, White has continued to publish and collaborate with researchers from around the world, focusing primarily on caribou. He serves on the steering committee of the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network, which monitors caribou herd health around the Northern Hemisphere.

From 2008-2011, White served as the University of Alaska Anchorage’s vice provost of research and dean of its Graduate School. He continues to live in Anchorage with his wife, Lura.

More online about Bob White:

  • A profile in the July 2011 newsletter of the CircumArctic Rangifer Monitoring and Assessment Network.

  • The Large Animal Research Station website.

  • A profile on the UA Journey website.