Fried, Wartes to be honored as outstanding alumni

January 18, 2019

Marmian Grimes

Neal Fried
Neal Fried

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association has named its 2019 award recipients.

Economist Neal Fried is the winner of this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. Rural Alaska Honors Institute program manager Denise Wartes is the recipient of the William R. Cashen Service Award.

The university will honor Fried and Wartes, along with the winners of the 2018 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards, at this year’s Blue and Gold Celebration, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Carlson Center.

Fried was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Vienna, Austria. He graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1976 with degrees in economics and history and has worked as an economist in Alaska for more than 40 years. Fried is known for his objective economic and demographic measures and analysis and is a frequent guest of community organizations and local media programs. He has authored many articles for the state Department of Labor’s monthly magazine Alaska Economic Trends. Fried lives in Anchorage with his wife, Mary Hilcoske.

Winners of the Distinguished Alumnus Award are selected based on meritorious service on behalf of UAF, distinguished accomplishments in business and professional life, or distinguished human service in community affairs.

Denise Wartes
Denise Wartes

Wartes has been a part of RAHI for decades. In addition to leading RAHI, Wartes has worked with the Festival of Native Arts and the elder-in-residence class, and has taught federal Indian law at UAF. Her colleagues credit RAHI’s success to her hard work and commitment to serving Alaska Native and rural students. She has several degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, including an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree with a minor in Alaska Native studies and master’s degree in cross-cultural studies. She plans to retire in July 2019 and lives in Fairbanks with her husband Mark.

Winners of the William R. Cashen Service Award are selected for outstanding service to the university and its alumni association.

The Blue and Gold Celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. The event includes a social hour, refreshments, an awards program and live music by the Fairbanks Community Jazz Band. An after-party will follow the event at the UAF Pub. Tickets for the event are $85. For more information or to purchase tickets, go online to

In addition to alumni award winners, the university will recognize the recipients of the 2018 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Teaching, Research and Service Awards, who were named in May: Patty Martinez Meritt, a professor of early childhood education, who received the teaching award; Matthew Wooller, a professor in the College of Fisheries and Ocean Science and the Institute of Northern Engineering, the chair of the Marine Biology Department, and director of the Alaska Stable Isotope Facility, who received the research award; and Charlie Dexter, an emeritus professor of applied business, who received the service award.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of the award recipients are available to download at