UAF names 2022 alumni award recipients

A head shot of a woman with brown hair
Photo courtesy of DeLys Cooks
DeLys Cooks

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association has named its 2022 award recipients.

Dr. Allison Kelliher ’01 and DeLys Cooks ’06, ’07 will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award, which recognizes accomplishments in business and professional life. This year’s awards acknowledge the challenges alumni in the health care profession have overcome during the pandemic. 

Jim Culley ’93, a longtime supporter of the College of Business and Security Management, will receive the 2022 William R. Cashen Service Award. The award honors outstanding service to the university and its alumni association.

Kelliher, a pioneer in integrative medicine, is the only medical doctor in the state who is also recognized as a tribal healer. Kelliher, originally from Nome, is Koyukon Athabascan. 

headshot of a woman with brown hair
Photo courtesy of Allison Kelliher
Allison Kelliher

In addition to her practice as a board-certified family and integrative medicine doctor, she directs the American Indian Collaborative Research Network and serves as the director at large for the Association of American Indian Physicians. She received her bachelor’s degree in Indigenous medicine from UAF. Kelliher graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2005 and the Alaska Family Medicine Residency in 2009.  

“Dr. Kelliher is an essential bridge between traditional medicine and Alaska Native communities’ approach to well-being,” said Kelly Drew, director of the Center for Transformative Research in Metabolism at the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology.

DeLys Cooks ’06, ’07 earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and certificates in medical assisting and medical/dental reception at UAF. She has worked as a nurse in the Fairbanks area for more than 15 years.

Cooks’ family was stationed at Fort Wainwright when she was 3 years old. Her journey into medicine began there as an intern at Bassett Army Hospital. In 2016, Cooks completed her bachelor’s in nursing, and last year she completed a master's program to become an advanced practitioner as a certified nurse midwife. Cooks has worked through the pandemic, providing care for mothers and babies.

a head shot of a man with a beard
Photo courtesy of Jim Culley
Jim Culley

“The last two years have not been easy,” she said. “Staff shortages, politics, separation of family and casualties of exposure to the COVID virus are just a few challenges that have affected the community.”

Culley, the Cashen award recipient, has been a dedicated UAF volunteer throughout his career in banking. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance from the UAF School of Management, now the College of Business and Security Management. 

Culley’s late father, James R. Culley ’78, earned his MBA from UAF. He met his wife of more than 27 years, Emily (Worhatch) Culley ’97, at UAF. Their daughter Grace plans to attend UAF in fall 2022.

Culley has attended the college’s Etiquette Seminar and Dinner for several years and has lent his expertise to the Arctic Innovation Competition. In addition, he has served on the Business Leader of the Year event steering committee.

“Jim is a wonderful ambassador for our university in assisting students and supporting our school,” said Mark Herrmann, CBSM dean. “Alumni like Jim are essential to our success.”

This year, the UAF Alumni Association will celebrate awardees during the Nanook Rendezvous alumni reunion in July. For more information, visit the UAF Alumni Association website.