Friday Focus: Telling our story, sharing information

February 22, 2019

Tori Tragis

Chancellor Dan White welcomed guests to the 2019 Blue and Gold Celebration on Feb. 16.
Chancellor Dan White welcomed guests to the 2019 Blue and Gold Celebration on Feb. 16.

— by Dan White, chancellor

This past week, I spent a busy day in Juneau participating in the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Board’s fly-in, speaking at the 2019 Innovation Summit, and promoting the great work being done at UAF. As part of this whirlwind, I was able to talk with many legislators and received (as part of the Fairbanks Chamber board) a briefing on the state budget by the governor’s staff. It was also good to see many UA and UAF leaders that President Johnsen has arranged to have speaking in front of different legislative committees. These meetings help inform our governing bodies about the university and its vital role in the state’s past, present and future.

As I mentioned in my Wednesday budget communication, UA Statewide is leading advocacy efforts on behalf of the system. Private donations to the University of Alaska will support these efforts. That said, there is nothing more powerful than a personal story. You can write your local legislator and share why the university is important to you, your community and our state. Information on your local representative can be found at, or you can email

Last Friday, I held a listening session on the budget. I appreciated that so many faculty, students and staff came to share their concerns and ideas. Thank you to everyone who attended or joined online. I will also host a budget listening session with Vice Chancellor Peter for the rural campuses and CTC. That event will be on Wednesday, March 6, from 3:30-5 p.m. We’ll send more detailed information soon.

The Blue and Gold Celebration was held this past Saturday, where we celebrated a few of our outstanding faculty, alumni and students in front of a sold-out crowd. Thank you to everyone who came to the event and to the UAF Alumni Association and Usibelli Coal Mine for their long-standing partnerships. Even though this year’s event was not billed as a fundraiser, nearly $60,000 was donated to the UAF Blue and Gold Scholarship Endowment and other funds. Seeing so many UAF faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members in attendance reinforced to me just how much of an impact UAF has on our community and state.

As we continue to charge forward, I am looking forward to many upcoming events.  Yesterday, Winter Carnival began, one of our long-standing Nanook traditions, organized by Student Activities. This weekend marks the last home series for the men’s hockey team, and there only two more weekends of home games for our men’s and women’s basketball teams. Come out and support your Nanooks!

Finally, this year I am chair of the 2019 Fairbanks Heart Walk, and I invite you to participate. Like the university, the American Heart Association and other nonprofits make important contributions to our communities. Together, we can make a difference.

Thank you for all you do for UAF!