UA Life sciences building named for Margaret 'Mardy' Murie
Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Board of Regents today approved a request to name the UAF Life Sciences Building for noted conservationist Margaret "Mardy" Murie.
In 1924, Murie was the first woman graduate of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, which eventually became the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her career as a naturalist and author spanned decades and earned her numerous awards and recognition as one of the founders of the conservation movement in the United States. Murie was instrumental in the passage of the Wilderness Act and the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 1998, President Clinton awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor. She is also the recipient of the Audubon Medal, the John Muir Award, the Robert Marshall Conservation Award and the J.N. Ding Darling Conservationist of the Year Award, which is the National Wildlife Federation's highest honor. Her book, "Two in the Far North," chronicles her life and career in Alaska with her husband, acclaimed biologist Olaus Murie. Margaret Murie passed away in 2003 at the age of 101.
"Margaret Murie was the first woman graduate of Alaska's first university," said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers. "She was a pioneer in her field. Her life and work embody the dedication, passion and curiosity we hope to instill in our students and that our researchers strive for in their own work."
The new Margaret Murie Building is slated for completion this summer and will open its doors to students and researchers in the fall. It will contain 100,000 square feet of classrooms and laboratories, allowing tomorrow's scientists to train in modern facilities and work alongside faculty members doing cutting-edge research.
UAF Institute of Arctic Biology Director Brian Barnes was among the advocates for the building being named in Murie’s honor.
"Today in the Institute of Arctic Biology and the Department of Biology and Wildlife, women are the majority of our graduate students and almost half of our faculty members," Barnes said. "She was part of a family of great biologists who were early explorers of Alaska and they popularized the values of protecting the wildlife and wilderness here. Our biological sciences community is proud to forever remember her and her family’s legacies through this naming."
The Margaret Murie Building will be formally dedicated in August.
Building information: http://www.uaf.edu/lifescience
Murie biography: http://www.alaska.edu/uajourne