Blue & Gold Celebration breaks record

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UAF photo by Eric Engman.
From left, UAF Chancellor Dan White joins Anna Atchison, Terence Watungwa and Brenna Schaake, all with Kinross, at the Blue & Gold Celebration on Thursday, May 11, 2023.

Nearly 200 donors contributed more than $435,000 to support student scholarships at the 2023 Blue & Gold Celebration — more than double the amount raised at past events.

The total includes a $350,000 gift from Kinross Alaska to establish the Kinross Alaska Future Leaders Endowed Scholarship. The endowment will provide up to four years of financial support for vocational and baccalaureate students who are historically underrepresented in the resource development industry.

Terence Watungwa, Kinross Alaska vice president and general manager, said the company hopes the scholarship will “foster an inclusive culture in the mining industry where those people who are historically underrepresented feel included and welcomed to contribute their perspectives, their values and their cultures.”

On top of the Kinross gift, attendees contributed an additional $85,000. This year’s $435,000 total will help students reach their educational goals for years to come. 

“I firmly believe that student scholarships are one of the most important investments we can make in our future,” said Samara Taber, UAF executive director of advancement. “Scholarships give students the tools they need to succeed, and they benefit our entire society by creating a more educated and equitable population.”

The celebration also honored this year’s Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards winners.

Amy Cooper, assistant professor and accounting program director at the College of Business and Security Management, received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Steffi Ickert-Bond, professor of botany in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics and curator of the UA Museum of the North herbarium, received the Distinguished Research Award. John George, professor and head of the fire science program at the UAF Community and Technical College, received the Distinguished Service Award.