Public Affairs

May 30, 2013

Dauenhauer Selected 2013 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence Winner

For Immediate Release
May 30, 2013

Richard Dauenhauer, retired professor of Alaska Native Languages and Culture at the University of Alaska Southeast, is the 2013 recipient of the University of Alaska Foundation’s prestigious Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence. The Bullock Prize for Excellence includes a cash award and is the largest single award made annually by the UA Foundation’s Board of Trustees. 

“It is with great pleasure that we announce that former University of Alaska professor, Richard Dauenhauer is this year’s Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence recipient,” announced Jo Michalski, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Edith Bullock established the award to showcase the extraordinary achievements of individuals on behalf of the University of Alaska system. Dr. Dauenhauer’s work in preserving endangered Alaska Native languages, especially Tlingit, exemplifies excellence by connecting the university with our native language citizens and introducing their culture to the world.” 

Described as a renaissance man, Dauenhauer is a poet, translator, Tlingit expert, and a former Alaska Poet Laureate. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Russian from Syracuse University; Master of Arts in German from the University of Texas; and Doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin. 

Dauenhauer became an honorary member of the Tlingit nation upon his marriage to Nora Marks Dauenhauer, a Tlingit native. Together they have anthologized four volumes of translated poems, and written over thirty articles of translations, linguistics, Tlingit literature, language shift, history and cultural survival. Dauenhauer has created a framework in which students can work with fluent speakers of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian before the languages die out. 

“Without a doubt, the revitalization of Tlingit language and linguistics today would not have been possible with the achievements of Richard Dauenhauer, in support of the University of Alaska’s mission: to advance and disseminate knowledge through creative teaching, research, and public service with an emphasis on Alaska, the North and their diverse peoples,” notes Dr. Robin Walz, in his nomination. 

Dauenhauer has taught at the university since 1984. He was appointed President’s Professor of Alaska Native Languages and Culture jointly at UAS and UAF in 2005. During his tenure he designed and taught courses leading to the Tlingit language minor and was instrumental in building up the Alaska Native Language program at UAS. He created several joint educational programs between the university and Alaska Native tribal organizations in an effort to preserve Alaska Native languages and cultures. 

Dauenhauer’s work has been recognized outside of Alaska. In 1990, he was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to represent the United States as one of five scholars participating in a joint USA-USSR folklife project on cognate culture working with Soviet colleagues on the folklore of Native peoples of Alaska, Siberia and the Far East. He has been an invited lecturer nationally and internationally. Dauenhauer has been recognized twice with the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award for his books, Anό oshi Lingit Aani Kά , Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804 and Haa Tuwunά agu Yis, for Healing our Spirit: Tlingit Oratory

The Bullock award was established by the late Edith R. Bullock, who served the university for 30 years as a member of the UA Board of Regents and the foundation’s Board of Trustees. The University of Alaska Foundation raises, invests and manages privately donated funds for the sole benefit of the University of Alaska.

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For more information, contact Carla Beam, President, UA Foundation 907-450-8030.

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