UAS | Marie Olsen

Marie Olson’s experiences as a young girl in Southeast Alaska have molded her vision of a richly diverse cultural experience at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. She has supported UAS in many ways, including through the Native and Rural Student Center. The mission of the Native & Rural Student Center (NRSC) is to create a student-centered inclusive environment that honors diversity, celebrates cultural traditions and knowledge, and enhances the learning experiences of the University of Alaska Southeast students. Since 1996, the NRSC has provided a warm, inviting atmosphere filled with opportunities to gather with peers, receive academic support, and develop leadership skills. To further her vision, she has also been the driving force behind the formation of the Native and Rural Student Center Scholarship. The fund will provide tuition and other financial assistance to...

UAA | Becky Patterson Bunde

Becky Patterson Bunde, a Professor Emerita who taught English for 30 years at Anchorage Community College and UAA, created a scholarship that will help nontraditional students. The Becky Patterson and Murphy Turner Endowed Scholarship provides assistance for tuition and related educational expenses to motivated undergraduate students at UAA. Becky is also making annual gifts and directing 80% of her Individual Retirement Account to the scholarship fund. When Becky passes, her IRA gift will transfer to her scholarship fund outside of probate and the interest will help with scholarship recipients’ tuition, books, and associated expenses, forever. “Money doesn’t mean anything by itself,” Becky says, “but if you can do something like this, it means a lot. Think of how lucky I am. I got to help people in my career and now it will...

UAF | James Pruitt, ’73 and Cassidy Brewer, ’18

Jim first came to Alaska in the summer of 1969 to work at a salmon cannery and quickly fell in love with the state, returning the following year to enroll at UAF. While living in Moore Hall and working at the Rasmuson Library, he took a wide range of classes, met people from all over the globe and experienced a completely different climate and way of life. In 1973, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. “Afterward, I was immediately hired with Amoco Corporation, largely due to my UAF education, and lived in Alaska for an additional 15 years. I now, more than ever, appreciate the value of attending UAF and I feel that it’s important for alumni like you and me to give back.” “For nearly 40 years, I had very minimal involvement with UAF — I was a sporadic donor, giving to both UAF and the Alumni Association. In 2013, I...

UAF | Kinross Fort Knox and Sumitomo Pogo Mine

Kinross Fort Knox and Sumitomo Pogo Mine, both international mining companies with gold mining operations near Fairbanks, Alaska, have given generously to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Fairbanks community— inspiring each other through their shared commitment to philanthropy. They jointly and individually support the UAF College of Engineering and Mines’ Mining Engineering Research Endowment and the UAF Community and Technical College. Both Kinross Fort Knox and Sumitomo Pogo Mine have contributed to the community where they live and work — with particular investments in helping to grow Alaska’s workforce. Through partnerships with UAF, both mines have dedicated time and resources to the education of Alaska’s future engineers, mechanics, and innovators. In 2011, Kinross Fort Knox helped to establish the UAF College of Engineering and Mines’ Mining Engineering Research...

UAF | Leonard and alumna Marjorie Wright, ’58

Leonard and Marjorie Wright, ’58, came to Alaska in 1953 and spent more than two and a half decades here. Marjorie completed her teaching degree at UAF then went on to teach in North Pole while Leonard established a construction business. The Wrights never forgot Alaska and visited over the years after they left the state. Leonard passed away in 2007. When Marjorie died in 2013 at 91, their estate provided more than $2.5 million to UAF to support student scholarships. Galen Dreis, Marjorie’s nephew, spoke about Marjorie and Leonards’ inspiration for giving: “Marjorie and Leonard always helped others and education was important to them — giving back was part of who they were as individuals.” This philanthropic gift is among the largest made by individuals to UAF, and provides for scholarship support for students in any field of study who demonstrate financial need as well as good...

UAA | Erik Sheldon

Four years ago, Erik Sheldon suffered the worst upheaval a 14-year-old could experience: His mother died. Addicted to alcohol for two years, she abruptly went sober because she didn’t have money to buy whiskey. A seizure killed her. “She went cold turkey and her body didn’t react well,” said Erik, who is from Kiana but was living in Anchorage at the time. “I followed in her footsteps for a while and blamed myself for her death, that I wasn’t able to get her to stop. Treatment was really good for me. I learned ways to cope, and that’s where life really flipped.” An aunt took in Erik and enrolled him in the Galena Interior Learning Academy. An anatomy and physiology course he took awakened an interest in health care and Erik graduated this spring, valedictorian of his class. Erik now participates in UAA’s Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program—also known as “Della Keats 1.” The Della...