UAF to host 102nd commencement ceremony

A line of college graduates wearing mortarboards and black academic robes and regalia standing inside an arena. A sign in the background reads, “Nanook Nation.”
UAF photo by Leif Van Cise
Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts prepare to receive their diplomas at UAF's 2023 Commencement Ceremony.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will honor the Class of 2024 during its 102nd commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 4, at 1 p.m. 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 Saturday, UAF expects to confer approximately 1,156 degrees on 1,031 students. Some students will receive more than one degree. The commencement ceremony includes graduates from summer and fall 2023 and spring 2024.

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney; UA regents Dennis Michel, Karen Perdue and Ralph Seekins; UAF Provost Anupma Prakash; and UAF Graduate School Director Richard Collins will help UAF Chancellor Daniel White confer degrees. The Iñu-Yupiaq Dance Group will open the event.

The student speaker will be Tori Shoemaker, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies. This year’s outstanding students are Nolan Earnest, recipient of the Marion Frances Boswell Memorial Award honoring an outstanding bachelor’s degree candidate; Janelle Pootoogooluk, recipient of the Joel Wiegert Award honoring an outstanding associate degree candidate; and T. Womack, recipient of the Gray Tilly Memorial Award honoring an outstanding nontraditional graduating candidate.

Lawrence K. Duffy, professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, will be the procession’s grand marshal. He is among 15 retiring staff and faculty members who will be granted emeritus status, a title given to those who have served the university with distinction for at least 10 years.

Others receiving emeritus status are: John Blake, director of animal resources center and attending veterinarian; James Brashear, professor of art; Catherine Brooks, associate professor of rural development; Michael Daku, associate professor of justice; Jon Genetti, associate professor of computer science; Dana Greci, professor of developmental English; Thomas Green, professor of chemistry; Theresa Arevgaq John, associate professor of Indigenous studies; Mark Johnson, professor of oceanography; Hishinlai’ Peter, assistant professor of Gwich’in studies; Hild Peters, executive officer; Arleigh Reynolds, professor of veterinary medicine; Yuri Shur, professor of civil and environmental engineering; David Valentine, professor of ecosystem ecology.

This year’s honorary degree recipients are Della Sdaahlk’awaás Cheney, Neal Fried and Mead Treadwell. Sarah Keller and Meg Nordale will receive Meritorious Service Awards.

Honorary degree and Meritorious Service Award recipients, emeriti, the student speaker and student award winners will be celebrated at a ceremony on Friday, May 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the Davis Concert Hall on the Troth Yeddha’ Campus in Fairbanks. UAF will also host a Ph.D. hooding ceremony on May 3 at 11 a.m. in the Davis Concert Hall.

On Saturday, the Carlson Center will be open for guest seating at noon, and the processional will begin at 1 p.m. The event will stream live on the UAF YouTube channel and the UAF Facebook page.


Class of 2024 profile

The following provides a snapshot of the UAF 2024 graduating class. These are preliminary numbers, current as of April 15, 2024. Final statistics will not be available until early September.

1,156 awards expected to be conferred on approximately 1,031 students:

  • 63 occupational endorsements
  • 188 certificates
  • 191 associate degrees
  • 453 bachelor’s degrees
  • 183 master’s degrees
  • 31 doctorates
  • 47 recommendations for education licensure

Diversity breakdown:

  • 585 women, 440 men, 7 specified other genders
  • 176 Alaska Native/American Indian
  • 61 Asian American
  • 40 Black or African American
  • 92 Hispanic or Latino
  • 556 Caucasian or white
  • 11 Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
  • 58 other or unknown
  • 37 international
  • Average age: 31; median age: 28

2024 commencement schedule

The following is a schedule of commencement activities. 

Friday, May 3

Ph.D. hooding ceremony11 a.m., Davis Concert Hall 

This ceremony celebrates graduates earning doctoral degrees.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m. for guest seating.

Watch the Ph.D. hooding ceremony on YouTube.

Honoree recognition ceremony 5:30 p.m., Davis Concert Hall

This ceremony celebrates honorary degree and Meritorious Service Award recipients, emeriti, student speaker and student award winners, Davis Concert Hall. 

Doors open at 5 p.m. for guest seating. 

Watch the honoree recognition ceremony on YouTube.

Saturday, May 4

All events are at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. The ceremony will last approximately 2-3 hours. Commencement will stream on the UAF YouTube channel and the UAF Facebook page.

11 a.m. — Students arrive and check in for lineup.

Noon — Carlson Center opens for guest seating.

12:30 p.m. — Graduates, stage party and faculty line up.

1 p.m. — Academic procession begins; ceremony follows.


ADDITIONAL CONTACT: Kristin Summerlin,, 907-474-6284