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Sept. 20, 2022

Welcome to Week 4!

I hope and trust that you all had a wonderful weekend! For those of you here in Fairbanks, I hope you enjoyed Starvation Gulch! It was a great time; if you missed it, check out these amazing photos posted on the UAF Facebook account. 

Looking ahead to week four (!) I wanted to let you know about a few exciting things that you may not yet be fully aware of. We are investing in UAF. Specifically, we continue to invest in and modernize the student experience. In celebration of week four, here are four really big projects that excite and bode well for our collective future:

If you live here in Fairbanks, you have probably seen that Wickersham Hall is being renovated. This $4 million dollar project is scheduled to be completed in time for residential occupancy this coming spring. Wickersham will be updated with new bathrooms, windows, flooring, paint, and furniture. Keep in touch here and with Residence Life for more information as we get closer to completion.

Did you notice that UAF received support from the State of Alaska to address the deferred maintenance of Moore and Bartlett Residence Halls? This $23 million dollar project will close both Moore and Bartlett this coming summer and continue through to the late summer of 2024. If everything works as planned, the renovated halls will open for occupancy in the fall of 2024.

You may also have heard that we are renovating the 6th floor of the Rasmuson Library to house a new Student Success Center. This $9 million dollar renovation project will be the new home for First Year Advising, Math Tutoring, Study Abroad, The Writing Center, The Speaking Center, and much more. It is going to be a large, open, modern space built to help all students succeed here at UAF. There will also be an equally robust online center to make sure we are equitably serving all of UAF’s students – not just those here at Troth Yeddha’. It is going to be awesome. Look for us to start some aspects of this improvement soon, but construction of the physical space will begin this spring with the goal of opening in fall 2023 or spring 2024. 

Lastly, have you heard about the Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center? This huge project has been quietly building momentum for years, but it is really starting to roll. Recently, UAF was given approval by the Board of Regents to raise $40 million for a new building to be located just east of the UA Museum of the North. This facility is key to UAF fulfilling our vision of becoming a global leader in indigenous and Alaska Native studies, and critical as a home to our Alaska Native students, and for the unique scholarship and research enterprise that is our foundation and will grow to become even more of our future. This is one of the most exciting and transformative projects for our future. 

You may clearly see how you will benefit from these projects or you may be asking how these big projects may help you. What does all this construction mean for your experience here at UAF? Fundamentally, it means that UAF continues to improve. This is important because, as a UAF student, you are a shareholder in our collective future. You are investing your time and your money in yourself, but also into who we can be and who we will be. By being here and by choosing UAF, you are a part of this improvement. Our futures are more than connected – we have a common future. We want you to go on to reach your goals, and it is important that we all work together to make sure that UAF, as an institution, continues to thrive and improve. With each of these projects, and with many more, we are becoming the University of Alaska Fairbanks of your future. 

If you want more good news about these kinds of things, I urge you to attend or view the Chancellor’s Convocation. You can attend in person in the Davis Concert Hall or watch online. This is an excellent time of year to celebrate you – and to celebrate where we are going.

Lastly, we send our prayers, thoughts, and best wishes to our fellow Alaskans impacted by the storm in Western Alaska

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback for me, please don’t hesitate to send your thoughts my way. You can find me at obguthrie@alaska.edu.

— Owen Guthrie, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management


UAF is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination/.