UAA Alumni of Distinction Awards
The Alumni of Distinction
Awards honor individual alumnus, faculty, staff, students and volunteers
who have contributed their time, efforts and creativity to the
advancement of UAA, the state of Alaska or the communities in which they
View a summary of the three Alumni of Distinction Awards here.
The 2013 Award Recipients
|UAA Alumni of Achievement Award: Sophie Minich, B.B.A. Finance '89., President and CEO of Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI)
Originally from Seward, Sophie began her 20-
year career with CIRI as a project accountant soon after she graduated from UAA's business and finance program in 1989. Sophie's served in several leadership roles at CIRI, including chief operating officer, senior vice president of business development, chief financial officer and vice president of administration. In 2013, Sophie was
named president and CEO.
A leader with a strong commitment to her community, Sophie is a current director and former chair of the Anchorage Economic DevelopmentCorporation's board of directors, as well as a trustee of Alaska Regional Hospital and CIRI Elders' Settlement Trust. She also serves on the Wells Fargo Bank Statewide Advisory Board and Great
West Division Board of the American Cancer Society. Sophie also chaired the 2010 United Way of Anchorage community giving campaign.
In 2008, Sophie was inducted into the Athena Society, and in 2011 she was named one of the YWCA Women of Achievement.
Read Sophie's full story at the Green & Gold
|UAA Alumni Humanitarian Award: Susan LaBelle, B.S.W. '84, M.S.W. '97, More than 35 years of professional and volunteer service to
the Alaska Native and non-Native community|
Susan LaBelle has shown
compassion and dedication for building healthy
communities in rural Alaska, for underserved
populations and for Alaska Native people over the
past 30 years. Through her work, Susan has brought a
rural Alaska perspective to some of the state's most
important discussions and decisions surrounding
mental illness, dementia, substance abuse, traumatic
brain injury and developmental disabilities. She has
created a legacy of advocating for Alaska's children,
helping ensure they grow up to be healthy adults.
She has worked tirelessly to build connections
between tribal corporations, the State of Alaska and professional organizations to expand behavioral
health programs and services statewide.
Susan earned her bachelor's and master's degrees
in social work from UAA. She was an influential
advocate for establishing the M.S.W. program at
UAA, and was a member of the first cohort of
graduates from the program. Susan is actively talking
with young people to encourage them to enter
the field of social work. She currently serves as the
interim director for Chugachmiut's Community and
Family Services Division and as a part-time assistant
clinical professor in UAA's social work program.
Read Susan's full story at the Green & Gold
|UAA Alumni Emerging Leader Award: Stephen Trimble, B.S. Interdisciplinary Studies '08,Project Manager at URS Corporation in Alaska|
A lifelong Alaskan,
Stephen Trimble serves as
a project manager and mining business lead for URS
Corporation. Stephen sits on several boards, two
of which are at UAA. He chairs the Department of
Geological Sciences advisory board and co-chairs
the College of Arts and Sciences advisory board. He
also has active board appointments with the Alaska
Minerals Commission, State of Alaska Emerging
Energy Technology Fund Advisory Committee,
Alaska Arctic Policy Commission and Gold Cord
Development Corporation. Stephen also serves on
the Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees.
As a young leader himself, Stephen recognizes
the importance of building the next generation of
Alaska leaders. Toward this end, Stephen teaches
geology to students in the Alaska Native Science and
Engineering Program’s (ANSEP) Summer Middle
School Program at UAA. Stephen has demonstrated
the qualities of a natural, ethical leader who has
earned the respect of his peers and the community.
Earlier this year, Stephen was recognized as one
of Alaska Journal of Commerce’s Top Forty Under
40, an award that recognizes young professionals
who display both professional excellence and a
commitment to the community.
Read Stephen's full story at the Green & Gold