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...

UAA | Rahab Kiruku, ’06

Rahab Kiruku works as a registered nurse at Providence Alaska Medical Center, helping patients make the transition from day surgery back to their lives. Rahab earned her nursing science degree eight years ago, yet still has all the letters UAA sent to congratulate her on scholarships she won. “I still think about it, how people are so generous,” said Rahab, an international student who traveled from Kiambu, Kenya, in December 2002 to attend UAA. “I applied for a lot of scholarships and felt thankful whenever I got one. Scholarships made a big difference in my life. Without scholarships, I would have had to go back home.” ‘You have to get money somehow’ Health care has long fascinated Rahab. “I think the human body is very intricate and interesting and I wanted to know how it functioned,” she said. “I also liked the aspect of caring for someone, helping them feel safe and better because...

UAA | Micah Chelimo, ’14

Micah Chelimo first drew breath 5,584 feet above sea level, in a village nestled between fields of red earth and velvety- green escarpments in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. Now, 8,290 miles from his birthplace, Micah (pronounced MEE-kah) has successfully concluded his quest for a UAA bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Micah’s passion for using engineering to help others, his talent for running and a full athletic scholarship propelled him to that degree, and Micah achieved lofty goals. He won medals and demolished records just about every time he competed on a track or trail, and earned four national championships during his career at UAA. He also earned accolades for his academic achievements. “I like telling people UAA’s my home,” Micah said. “Because of my scholarship, I had no problem while I was a student—my books got paid for, tuition, even board. I finished school without...

UAS | Kristin Brown, ’13

For many college students, achieving a Bachelor’s Degree is the main goal while enrolled. Kristin Brown has her bar set much higher. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, she came to Juneau not only to acquire her Bachelor’s in Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Southeast, but is currently in pursuit of her Master’s in Fisheries and Ocean Science, spending time doing dolphin research around the world as part of her thesis work. She also finds time to serve as President of the Student Alumni Association. After earning her Master’s Degree, she is setting her sights on a PhD. Her complete dedication and ambition are inspiring, as is her appreciation for those that helped her get this far. “Scholarships truly motivated me to work hard in my classes and for my degree because someone gave me the chance to do so, a chance that I might not have otherwise had. I think scholarships also...