University of Alaska Fairbanks

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University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Alaska Fairbanks logo.png
Motto Ad Summum
(Latin for "to the top")
Established 1917
Type Public
Land-grant flagship
Endowment $143.7 million [1]
Chancellor Brian Rogers
Academic staff 697
Admin. staff 3014
Students 10,214
Undergraduates 8,988
Postgraduates 1,226
Location Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
64°51′32″N 147°50′08″W / 64.85889°N 147.83556°W / 64.85889; -147.83556Coordinates: 64°51′32″N 147°50′08″W / 64.85889°N 147.83556°W / 64.85889; -147.83556
Sports Alaska Nanooks
Colors Blue      and Gold     
Mascot Nanook
Affiliations UArctic

The University of Alaska Fairbanks, is a public research university located in Fairbanks, Alaska, United States. It serves as the flagship campus of the University of Alaska System, and is abbreviated as Alaska or UAF.

UAF is a land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant institution, as well as participating in the sun-grant program through Oregon State University. It is also the site where the Alaska Constitution was drafted and signed in 1955 and 1956. UAF was established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, first opening for classes in 1922.

UAF is home to seven major research units: the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station; the Geophysical Institute, which operates the Poker Flat Research Range; the International Arctic Research Center; the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center; the Institute of Arctic Biology; the Institute of Marine Science; and the Institute of Northern Engineering. Located just 200 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the Fairbanks campus's unique location is situated favorably for Arctic and northern research. The campus's several lines of research are renowned worldwide, most notably in Arctic biology, Arctic engineering, geophysics, supercomputing, and aboriginal studies. The University of Alaska Museum of the North is also on the Fairbanks campus.

In addition to the Fairbanks campus, UAF encompasses seven rural and urban campuses: Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham; Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue; Interior-Aleutians Campus, which covers both the Aleutian Islands and the Interior; Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; Northwest Campus in Nome; and the UAF Community and Technical College in Fairbanks, UAF's community college arm. Fairbanks is also the home of the UAF Center for Distance Education, an independent learning and distance delivery program.

In fall 2013, UAF enrolled 10,214 students. Of those students, 59.3 percent were female, 40.7 percent were male, 88 percent were undergraduates, and 12 percent were graduate students. In May 2013, there was a total of 1,288 graduates from the summer, fall, and spring semesters (UAF Facts and Figures, 2014).



Signers' Hall

The University of Alaska was established in 1917 as a college, but its origins lie in the creation in 1906 of a federal agricultural experiment station in Fairbanks, the sixth in Alaska. The station set the tone for the university that developed later, which is strongly research-oriented. In 1915, the U.S. Congress approved funds to establish a school of higher education and transferred land from the station for the purpose. The federal land grant was accepted by Territorial Governor John Strong in 1917. That year, on a bluff above the Chena River, a cornerstone for the college was laid by Territorial Delegate James Wickersham. The site became known as College Hill. Charles E. Bunnell was appointed the university's first president, serving for 27 years. The new institution was established as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1922, offering 16 classes to a student body of six (at a ratio of one faculty member per student). In 1923 the first commencement produced one graduate, John Sexton Shanly.

In 1931, the rest of the Alaska Agricultural Experiment Station was transferred to the college, and the Alaska Territorial Legislature changed the name in 1935 to the University of Alaska. As the university began to expand throughout the state, the Fairbanks campus became known as the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975; the two other primary UA institutions are the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.

Significant events[edit]

The Alaska Constitutional Convention was held on the university campus from November 1955 to February 1956. The student union building, which was completed the same day the convention opened, was used for the convention's sessions. The University's Board of Regents named the building Constitution Hall the same month as the convention's opening. The campus library and gymnasium building, where the constitution was signed, was named Signers' Hall in the 1980s. Today, Signers' Hall houses the Office of Admissions and the Registrar, the Business Office, the Provost's Office and the Office of the Chancellor.


University rankings
Forbes[3] 326[2]
U.S. News & World Report[4] NR
Washington Monthly[5] 204

Schools and colleges[edit]

UAF has nine academic schools and colleges:

Students can choose from more than 160 degrees and 31 certificates in more than 120 disciplines.


  • Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
    • The Alaska Film Archives, housed in the Alaska and Polar Regions section of the Rasmuson Library, hold the largest collection of film-related material about Alaska.
    • BioSciences Library (physically housed in the Institute of Arctic Biology, but administratively part of the Rasmuson Library)
  • Keith B. Mather Library (housed in the International Arctic Research Center)

Research units[edit]

UAF is Alaska's primary research university, conducting over 90% of all the research done throughout the UA system. Research activities are organized into several institutes and centers:

Other campuses of UAF[edit]

In addition to the main camp of UAF in Fairbanks, there are four smaller campus in other towns of Alaska. These are: Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham AK, Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue AK, Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel AK, Northwest Campus in Nome AK.


Main article: Alaska Nanooks
Alaska vs. Air Force ice hockey game

University of Alaska Fairbanks sports teams are the Alaska Nanooks, with the word Nanook derived from the Inupiaq "nanuq." Though often known as UAF within the state, the university prefers to be called simply "Alaska" for athletics purposes. The school colors are blue and gold. The Alaska Nanooks compete at the NCAA Division I level for hockey as a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Nanooks play their home games at the 4,500 seat Carlson Center located in downtown Fairbanks. The Alaska Nanooks also have a Division I rifle team which has won ten NCAA National Rifle Championships (1994, 1999–2004, 2006–2008). The men's and women's basketball, cross country running, and women's volleyball teams are Division II members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the women's swim team is a member of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference (PCSC) and the men's and women's Nordic skiing teams are members of the Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA). Partly due to its isolation from the lower 48 and lack of a dome to protect against the harsh elements, Alaska does not currently have a football program, as is true for all three branches of the University of Alaska.

The Nanook hockey team has gained fame with the increased popularity of their introduction videos, which feature a mascot known nationally as "Hockeybear," who engages in over-the-top antics such as destroying planets, moons, galaxies and even rival cities such as Anchorage or Columbus, OH. Hockeybear then ends his destruction when he arrives at the Carlson Center, usually entering through the roof after tearing off a large section. Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" is featured prominently.

Since the UAF athletics program was operating at a financial deficit for several years prior, a new student fee was initiated in 2008 to keep the program alive. This fee charges UAF students $8 per credit hour they are enrolled in, up to a maximum of $96 per semester. The fee grants students free admission to select UAF athletic events.

In fiscal year 2009-10, the department was able to meet financial obligations without additional year-end funding for the first time.

The department has increased scholarships for women by 95 percent since 2005, and was even recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education for Title IX compliance in an article titled "Turnaround Stories."


There are several book publishers at UAF, including the University of Alaska Press, the Alaska Native Language Center, Alaska Sea Grant, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Cooperative Extension Service, and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network. The University of Alaska Foundation also publishes books.

Magazines include Aurora,[6] a twice-annual produced by Marketing and Communications; Frontiers,[7] a twice-annual produced by the Center for Research Services; Agroborealis,[8] a twice-annual produced by the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences; Challenges in Science and Engineering,[9] an annual produced by the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center; Ice Box,[10] the UAF student literary magazine; and Permafrost,[11] the UAF English department's literary magazine. The alumni newsletter, a twice-annual publication, is the Alumnus.

The student newspaper is the Sun Star,[12] formed after a merger of the Polar Star, an independent student paper, and the Northern Sun, the journalism department's student newspaper.


The university hosts a Fine Arts complex, one room of which is named after long-time local chorister Eva McGown. The art department has a gallery, the UAF Art Gallery, which is used for student art shows, BFA and MFA thesis shows, and (occasionally) combined faculty shows. The complex includes two theatres, the Charles W. Davis Concert Hall and the Lee Salisbury Theatre. UAF offers an extensive Native Arts program, directed by Da-ka-xeen Mehner.[13]

UAF also offers an MFA degree in creative writing. The creative writing program is run by the English Department,[14] and offers courses in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic writing. Currently, faculty include Gerri Brightwell and Kyle Mellen (fiction), Derick Burleson and Sean Hill (poetry), Daryl Farmer (creative nonfiction), and Len Kamerling (film/dramatic writing).[15]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]

Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks[edit]

The Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks or ASUAF is the representative group for the students attending the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

During the fall and spring semesters, each student enrolled in three or more credit-hours pays a $42 fee to ASUAF, which lobbies the university administration and occasionally the state Legislature. During the summer semester the fee is $10.

Students elect a president, vice-president, and up to 20 senators to the student government via electronic ballots. The president and vice-president are elected in the spring for one-year terms. The executive branch also consists of three director positions. The government relations director is responsible for relations between ASUAF and local, state, and federal governments. An information services director manages ASUAF's computer-related services. The public relations director is responsible for advertising for ASUAF events. The senate has 20 senate seats, not always filled. Ten are elected the fall semester, and 10 more in the spring. They serve one-year terms. The senate appoints a senate chair at the beginning of the academic year.

Student fee funds for UAF's student-run media, the Sun Star newspaper and the KSUA radio station, are funneled through ASUAF. Both of these organizations are funded by a percentage of the $42 and $10 student fees collected by the association, and are managed wholly by students at UAF. Funding aside, they are operated independently of the student government. Additionally, the Concert Board is funded through a portion of the student government fee.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]