UA Giving Day success

October 23, 2020

Tori Tragis

Kate Ripley. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.
Kate Ripley. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.

— by Kate Ripley, interim director of development and alumni relations

UAF donors and supporters blow me away. Our first giving day event, “49 Hours for the 49th State,” was humbling, inspiring and wonderful. 

It’s because of this incredible community that is Nanook Nation. 

The event started at noon Oct. 20 and went through 1 p.m. Oct. 22. Have you ever organized a really big party, invited a ton of people and then panicked the night before? What if nobody comes? Did everyone get the invitation? Do they even remember this is happening? Help — I still need to clean the living room! 

That’s what it felt like. Then the day came, following months of preparation. The ticker tape rolled, and names and donations filled up the donor wall. People came to the party. They received the invitation. They knew what was happening. The living room was clean. 

What I feel most is gratitude to all the deans, faculty and staff from across UAF, who helped make this event a success for our students and the mission of teaching, research and service. I’m thankful to Chancellor White and his leadership team for their unwavering support. The collaboration with our colleagues at the UA Foundation and UAF University Relations was key. 

Four students wearing masks and 6 feet apart are outside the MBS Complex. There is a sign for New Student Orientation, and the logo for UA Giving Day is superimposed. A blue UAF banner is at the top of the image.Mostly I feel gratitude to the 582 alumni, donors and supporters who took the time out of their busy lives to give a combined $416,000 to UAF programs that are meaningful to them. 

Please join me in thanking the following people and organizations for their challenge gifts to inspire others to donate to UAF: 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, Matt Varga ’98 ’09 ’10, Great Northwest, Kendall Subaru, Sunrise Bagels, and deans Bill Schnabel, Bradley Moran, Ellen Lopez, Mark Herrmann, Kinchel Doerner and Michele Stalder. 

Our goal for this event was participation. Of the 1,110 total donors who gave during the systemwide effort, more than half gave to UAF. I’m calling it a tremendous success!