University of Alaska System nears $200 million fundraising goal

by Cassandra Stalzer and Eric Olson  |   

UAA students collaborate using a whiteboard.
The University of Alaska System's $200 million fundraising goal is within reach. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

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, corporate partners and foundations, including 35 gifts of $1 million or more.

The For Alaska campaign launched publicly in March 2021, after a “quiet phase” of engagement and contribution building that began in 2016. It is the first time the three universities — UAA, UAS and UAF — alongside the University of Alaska Foundation, have undertaken a collective fundraising effort, the largest fundraising campaign in state history.

“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 7,500 UAA donors have contributed nearly $68 million to this historic endeavor. Additionally, 60 new donor-funded scholarship opportunities have been created since 2016.

“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 UAA on recent fundraising successes:

  • ConocoPhillips Alaska recently donated nearly $300,000 to the College of Engineering, Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program, Seawolf Athletics and more.
  • The College of Business and Public Policy is securing the remaining funds needed to begin construction of the First National Bank Alaska (FNBA) Finance Lab. The FNBA Finance Lab will be a modern space with a trading room feel for students and faculty to explore in-demand finance and analytics tools.
  • Celebrity Chef Invitational guests contributed nearly $50,000 to UAA’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Administration programs, providing scholarships and state-of-the-art culinary equipment.
  • UA Foundation board member and Providence Alaska Medical Center CEO Ella Goss and her husband Brook committed $25,000 to name the new Goss Nursing Lounge in the School of Nursing. She said, "I wanted to give tribute to the importance of caring for our nurses who do so much to care for us."

“I am deeply humbled and sincerely grateful for the outpouring of support that we have received during the For Alaska campaign. This is an impressive vote of confidence in UAA’s work to serve Southcentral Alaska as a university of distinction,” said UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell.

“It is thrilling to see so many friends, partners, alumni, faculty, staff and UAA retirees generously investing in our students’ futures through philanthropy ranging from ten dollars to tens of millions,” added Bobi Rinehart, associate vice chancellor for development. “Together, we are transforming lives and communities."

Creative Commons License "University of Alaska System nears $200 million fundraising goal" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.