(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Opinion: A campaign for Alaska

  • Tuesday, April 13, 2021 11:16am
  • Opinion

By Sheri Buretta and Cynthia Cartledge

The University of Alaska is focused on taking charge of its destiny. On March 25, the university launched its “For Alaska” philanthropic campaign — the largest public fundraising effort in the university’s history with a goal to raise $200 million by 2024. The fundraising campaign involves all three universities – UAA, UAF, UAS – all 16 community campuses, and the University of Alaska Foundation.

This coordinated fundraising and public outreach effort is an opportunity to further position higher education as a catalyst for a thriving Alaska. The campaign invites alumni, community partners, businesses and neighbors to invest in delivering high-quality education to meet the needs of Alaska. The campaign is also about allowing each of us to imagine the possibilities in building the future of Alaska while serving the needs of all Alaskans through the university.

Our university community has been working hard to increase philanthropic giving in support of students, academics and research For Alaska. We are committed to expanding the number of scholarships available for all students, enhancing the hundreds of academic and training programs, growing our Alaska Native studies programs, and Arctic and other research. To date, more than 16,000 Alaskans have contributed to this campaign raising more than $135 million for these important initiatives at UAA, UAF and UAS.

The goal of the For Alaska campaign is broader than philanthropic giving. It is also designed to promote Alaskan ownership of the state’s extraordinary university system, and to build a vibrant bold tomorrow for all Alaskans by empowering opportunity through higher education.

At the campaign launch, hundreds of Alaskans, including students, alumni, community members, supporters and business leaders, joined us to hear more about the For Alaska campaign. Four key messages summarize the campaign’s priorities:

Expand the culture of education in Alaska by increasing college graduation, and ensure broad access for the success of our students while ensuring educational equity;

Provide Alaska with a skilled workforce;

Grow world class research by leading research relevant to Alaska and to the Arctic region; and,

Contribute to a more diversified economy by expanding Alaska’s knowledge base.

The impact of the For Alaska campaign will help write the next chapter in Alaska’s history. It will highlight Alaska’s leadership in higher education, research, innovation and economic development. By combining efforts across the university system, and with all Alaskans, we will raise the profile and awareness of the University of Alaska and its importance to our entire state.

But more so, the campaign is about imagining possibilities and dreaming about creating a brighter future For Alaska. A strong University of Alaska system is key to providing a better future for all Alaskans.

The University of Alaska system belongs to every Alaskan. Won’t you join us?

• Sheri Buretta is the chair of the University of Alaska Board of Regents, Cynthia Cartledge is the chair of the University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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