September 15, 2009

Boraas receives 2009 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence


Alan Boraas, professor of anthropology at Kenai Peninsula College, University of Alaska Anchorage, is this year’s recipient of the University of Alaska Foundation’s prestigious Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence.

“The accomplishments of Professor Boraas exemplify the excellence of the Edith R. Bullock Prize. The University of Alaska Foundation recognizes Dr. Boraas’ 35 years of research and publication on the history and culture of the Dena’ina people on the Kenai Peninsula and Russian culture,” said Sharon Gagnon, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees. “His selfless devotion to teaching students of all ages is impressive.” 

Kenai Peninsula College Director Gary Turner nominated Boraas. “Dr. Boraas has set the standard that others will be judged by in the future. The University of Alaska System is fortunate to be able to count him as a distinguished faculty member and well deserving of the Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence,” Turner said.

This year’s award was made possible by a charitable gift from First National Bank Alaska. The bank stepped forward when it appeared this year’s award would not be possible due to worldwide market conditions.

Boraas received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, his master’s degree from the University of Toronto and his doctorate from Oregon State University. He has taught at KPC since 1973. 

His awards  for teaching, research and public service include the Book of the Year at the American Book Awards by the Before Columbus Foundation for A Dena’ina Legacy, K’tl’egh’i Sukdu: The Collected Writings of Peter Kalifornsky; the Greater Soldotna Chamber of Commerce’s Devoted Service to Young People and Youth Activities Award; and Faculty of the Year at KPC. He also is an honorary member of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe. 

Boraas has written 70 opinion columns for the Anchorage Daily News editorial page, is author of 15 scholarly articles, numerous articles and two books. During the past six years alone, Boraas taught 18 different courses in anthropology at KPC.

Boraas was presented with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce’s Log Cabin Award, given to those who exemplify the ideals of community spirit, in January, 2009. He received the award in recognition of his extensive work with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe and their language preservation program, as well as for his work in establishing the Tsalteshi Trails.

His research has focused on the anthropology of Cook Inlet with a particular emphasis on the Dena’ina culture and language and early Russian inhabitants of the region. Boraas is known as one of the foremost Dena’ina scholars and one of a few Dena’ina language speakers of Caucasian heritage. 

His service to the university is further exemplified by his 30 presentations to public school students and teachers as he enhanced their knowledge of the Kenai Peninsula, the State of Alaska and its earliest inhabitants. He serves as an ambassador of the university and has given more than 50 public lectures across the state in his specialty.

The Bullock prize, which provides a $20,000 cash award, is the largest single award made annually by the UA Foundation’s Board of Trustees, a non-profit entity that raises, invests and manages privately donated funds for the sole benefit of the University of Alaska. The 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. Bullock was also a member of the Alaska Territorial House of Representatives and Senate.

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