UAF to celebrate 94th commencement

May 4, 2016

Jeff Richardson

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will honor the class of 2016 during its 94th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 8, at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

The university's first commencement took place in 1923, when the sole graduate, John Sexton Shanly, received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. On Sunday, UAF expects to confer approximately 1,460 degrees on 1,367 students. Some students will receive more than one degree. The commencement ceremony includes graduates from summer and fall 2015 and spring 2016.

Several members of the University of Alaska Board of Regents and UA President Jim Johnsen will help UAF Interim Chancellor Mike Powers confer degrees.

The Tanacross Dancers will lead the processional. Graduates, faculty members, university officials, and honorary degree and Meritorious Service Award recipients will participate in the ceremony beginning at 1:20 p.m.

Doyon, Limited President and CEO Aaron Schutt will give the keynote address. UAF will present three honorary doctoral degrees and two Meritorious Service Awards during the ceremony. This year’s honorary degree recipients are Inupiaq educator Elizabeth Fleagle, polar researcher Jacqueline Richter-Menge and Athabascan leader Trimble Gilbert. Meritorious Service Award recipients are longtime UAF supporter Carolyne Wallace and Fairbanks businessman Gary Wilken.

The student speaker is Joe Slocum, a member of the Nanooks men’s basketball team who is receiving a Master of Business Administration degree. This year’s outstanding students are Ingrid Dye, recipient of the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award honoring a graduating senior woman, and Eli Ward, recipient of the Joel Wiegert Award honoring a graduating senior man.

Channon Price, associate professor of physics, will serve as the procession’s grand marshal. Price is among 14 retiring staff and faculty members who will be granted emeritus status on Sunday, a title given to those who have served the university with distinction for at least 10 years.

Others receiving emeritus status are: Jenny Bell-Jones, Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development academic chair; Olivia Eddy, university registrar; Gregory Goering, professor of economics; Scott Huang, professor of geological engineering; John Kawula, professor of library science; Richard Machida, senior engineer; Allan Morotti, associate professor of counseling; Chien-Lu Ping, professor of soil science; Jonathan Rosenberg, professor of political science; Jordan Titus, professor of sociology; Jane Weber, associate professor of developmental mathematics; and Kathleen Wynne, professor of marine biology. Gerald Mohatt, a professor of psychology who died in 2010, will posthumously receive emeritus status.

Commencement rehearsal for graduates is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Carlson Center. There will be a picnic immediately following rehearsal until 1 p.m. at the Carlson Center for graduates and their families to celebrate. The Carlson Center will be open for guest seating at noon on Sunday. The processional will begin at 1:20 p.m.

The event will be televised by GCI on channels 1 and 999. It will also be available as a webcast at

Graduates, their families and UAF alumni are welcome to attend a reception hosted by the UAF Alumni Association on the Carlson Center lawn immediately following the ceremony.


Class of 2016 profile

The following statistics provide a snapshot of UAF’s 2016 graduating class. Please be aware that these are only preliminary numbers, current as of May 3, 2016. Final statistics will not be available until after commencement.

Approximately 820 women and 547 men are graduating; 1,460 awards are expected to be conferred on 1,367 students, including:

• 41 occupational endorsements

• 223 certificates

• 315 associate degrees

• 572 bachelor’s degrees

• 235 master’s degrees

• 47 doctorates

• 24 recommendations for education licensure

• 5 graduate certificates

Diversity breakdown:

• 232 Alaska Native/American Indian

• 21 Asian-American

• 27 African-American

• 54 Hispanic or Latino

• 304 Other or unknown

• 45 International

• 674 White

• 10 Hawaiian/Pacific Islander

• Youngest graduate is 17 (occupational endorsement in basic carpentry); youngest baccalaureate graduate is 20 (bachelor’s degree in biological sciences); oldest graduate is 77 (associate degree in general program)

• Average age: 31; median age: 27

2016 schedule

The following is a schedule of commencement weekend activities. Times with asterisks are estimated.

Saturday, May 7

10:30 a.m. — Commencement rehearsal, Carlson Center

11:30 a.m.* — Graduate picnic, Carlson Center

Sunday, May 8

Noon — Carlson Center opens for guest seating

12:20 p.m. — Graduates, faculty, administrators and stage party line up, Carlson Center

1:20 p.m. — Academic procession begins

1:30 p.m. — Ceremony begins

4:30 p.m.* — Alumni reception, Carlson Center lawn