University of Alaska system nears $200 million fundraising goal
March 18, 2022
The University of Alaska System’s $200 million fundraising goal is within reach, according to a report shared with the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors at its March 2 meeting in Juneau. As of December 2021, more than $175 million in private donations have been contributed by alumni, friends, companies, and private organizations, including 35 gifts of $1 million or more.
The For Alaska campaign had its public launch in March last year, and is the first time the three universities and non-profit foundation have undertaken a comprehensive fundraising effort.
“The University of Alaska System is vital to this state’s future,” said Laura Bruce, the foundation’s board chair. “The amazing success of this campaign is proof that Alaskans value an educated, prepared workforce. It is seminal to the success of our businesses and overall economy.”
To date, more than 18,000 donors have contributed and 183 new scholarship funds have been created.
“Private philanthropy plays an important role in the university system’s move toward greater financial stability,” said President Pat Pitney, who also serves on the foundation board. “Not only are donors providing support for programs, athletics and facilities, but the new scholarships being established during the campaign makes our universities' programs even more affordable to Alaska's students.”
At its March meeting, the foundation board also heard from the three universities on their respective fundraising priorities.
The University of Alaska Southeast’s priority is completing construction on the new Auke Bay Integrated Science Building, which will create a new home for teaching and research associated with UAS’ distinctive marine-oriented environmental and interdisciplinary science programs. The completed first phase of the project demolished a 60-year-old building on ocean-front, federal surplus property that was donated to the UAS. Phase two is to construct a new, interdisciplinary 12,000 square foot facility.
University Alaska Fairbanks’ fundraising priority is the Troth Yeddha’ Indigenous Studies Center and Park in Fairbanks. The facility will encompass a state-of-the art research, learning and cultural activities facility and a surrounding park to support outdoor gatherings, celebrations and events. It will solidify UAF’s global leadership in the field of Indigenous Studies.
The University of Alaska Anchorage is securing the remaining funds needed to begin construction of the College of Business and Public Policy First National Bank Alaska (FNBA) Finance Lab, which is a partnership to increase the number of graduates prepared for careers in banking and finance. The finance lab will be a modern space with a trading room feel for students and faculty to use, learn and apply current in-demand finance and analytics tools. Once complete, UAA will be one of approximately 150 business schools accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business with an active finance/trading lab.
The board also received updates from each university about recent contributions, including:
- Steve Holmberg '89 committed $2.8 million to create the Steve and Cynthia Holmberg
Choral Director Endowed Chair in the UAF Music Department. A concert to celebrate
this transformational gift will take place on April 10 in Fairbanks.
- James Alves '77 pledged $1 million to the UAF College of Engineering and Mines through
his estate plans. Alves' gift will encourage and foster teaching excellence in engineering
and math programs.
- First National Bank Alaska donated more than $400,000 to the UAA College of Business
and Public Policy Finance Lab Initiative, Culinary Arts program and Excellence in
- Coeur Alaska, Inc., owner and operator of the Kensington Mine, donated $300,000 to
strengthen the Coeur AK Kensington Mine Environmental Science Award, an endowed scholarship
fund supporting UAS students majoring in Environmental Science or Marine Biology.
- Usibelli Coal Mine invested $300,000 in the UAF Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft
and Systems Integration, a nationally recognized program to develop the unmanned aircraft
industry (commonly known as drones).
- Hecla Greens Creek Mine donated $300,000 to create an endowment to support the UAS
Environmental Science program. The fund will provide funds for faculty and undergraduate
research, paid summer internships, field courses, and other student experiential learning
- An anonymous donor made a $250,000 gift to support UAA’s 49th Finishers Scholarship,
an initiative to aid Alaska residents returning to college after a break or transfer
from another college or university,
- ConocoPhillips Alaska donated nearly $300,000 to the College of Engineering, Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP), Seawolf Athletics and more.