Chancellor's Reports on Philanthropy

Winter 2020

Dear Friends of UAF:

Chancellor Dan M. White
Chancellor Dan M. White

As we head toward 2021, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your commitment to, and trust in, UAF.

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year. But with challenges come opportunities. Our recent online giving event, “49 Hours for the 49th State,” demonstrated how much UAF means to alumni, donors and community members. A majority of the donors and dollars during this first systemwide campaign were directed to UAF programs, colleges and schools. UAF donors hailed from 47 states and nine countries. To watch the outpouring of support — and the names of friends listed on the website’s “donor wall” in real time — was exciting!

During the giving day event, challenge gifts from generous benefactors inspired others to give. I especially want to thank Usibelli Coal Mine (led by Joe Usibelli Jr. ’81); Dr. Cary Keller and Sarah Keller ’90; Spirit of Alaska Credit Union (led by Anthony Rizk ’90, ’97); Regent Mary K. Hughes ’71; the Hockey Alumni Association; the UAF Alumni Association; Ann Cook ’72; retired Professor Claudia Clark; Alaska 529; Nanooks hockey coach Erik Largen ’10; Matt Varga ’98, ’09, ’10; Great Northwest; Kendall Subaru; and deans Bill Schnabel ’00, Bradley Moran, Ellen Lopez, Mark Herrmann, Kinchel Doerner and Michele Stalder ’97. More than 200 ambassadors helped share the message throughout their social networks, and Sunrise Bagels celebrated UAF with its own special drink and per-cup donation. My gratitude goes to them as well.

The new year is a great time for fresh starts and goal setting. Pre-pandemic, I launched an effort to convert the director of development and alumni relations position (filled in an interim capacity by Kate Ripley) into the position of executive director of university advancement. That effort was postponed largely due to COVID-19, but the goal to move University Relations, Development and Alumni Relations into one integrated department remained.

I am pleased to announce that Samara Taber will be the new executive director of university advancement. A UAF alumna, Samara began her UAF career in 2013 with the Office of Development and has served in a variety of roles over the past eight years, including interim associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, director of admissions and interim UAF executive officer. Samara starts her new role on Dec. 14.

Kate Ripley ’11 retires from UAF Jan. 1, 2021, with over 15 years of service to the university. My deep gratitude to Kate for all she has done as interim director of development and alumni relations during the past year and a half. The development team, led by Kate, increased giving to UAF during one of the most challenging times of our history. Kate’s relentless optimism, passion for UAF and care for people will be missed by UAF and by me as chancellor. I am confident that we will continue to see Kate’s positive work in the community to the benefit of the blue and gold.

Have a restful holiday season, and thank you for choosing UAF.


Daniel M. White

UAF CTC culinary arts students cook with 'Nook.


Alumni lead the way to a successful giving day

Billed as “49 hours for the 49th state,” #UAGivingDay2020 drew participation from more than 1,100 individuals across the country.

Read more about #UAGIVINGDAY2020
Sarah and Dr. Cary Keller. Photo provided by Dr. Keller.

Dr. Cary and Sarah Keller

Philantropists and advocates

For more than 30 years, Dr. Cary Keller and Sarah Keller ’90 have attended athletic events, advocated for the university and invested their time and money to ensure the quality of its programs.

Read more about Dr. Cary and Sarah Keller
Coach Erik Largen and Nanooks hockey team. Photo by Paul H. McCarthy.

Alaska Nanook Hockey Alumni Association

Inspiring Nanook hockey fans

Since its creation more than 15 years ago, the Alaska Nanook Hockey Alumni Association has been an avid supporter of UAF’s hockey program.


Read more about the Alaska Nanook Hockey Alumni Association
Joe Usibelli Jr. joins the ribbon-cutting for the upgraded Nanooks weight-training room. Photo by JR Ancheta '15.

Usibelli Coal Mine

Over 43 years of supporting UAF

Support for education has been a hallmark of the leadership of UCM President Joe Usibelli Jr. ’81. Over the years, Usibelli Coal Mine has donated more than $5.2 million to the university.

Read more about Usibelli Coal Mine
Julie Nielsen prepares to deploy an underwater microphone for tracking halibut. Photo by Andrew Seitz.

Pollock Conservation Cooperative

UAF celebrates 20 years of partnership with the Pollock Conservation Cooperative

Over the last 20 years, the Pollock Conservation Cooperative has given more than $16 million to support marine research and education at UAF, including support for the research center.

Read more about the Pollock Conservation Cooperative