Tordoff Named 2010 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence Winner
Dirk Tordoff, head of the Alaska Film Archives at the University of
Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library, has been selected as the 2010
recipient of the University of Alaska Foundation's Edith R. Bullock
Prize for Excellence.
"We are pleased to present this year's Edith R. Bullock Prize for
Excellence to Dirk Tordoff," commented Mike Felix, chair of the
foundation's board of trustees. "His exemplary work over the last 17
years has built what is arguably one of the world's foremost sources
for historical film footage about Alaska and the Arctic. Not only has
he amassed an incredible volume of film footage, but he has also made
this generous body of work available to the public through his
untiring efforts. Dirk is a great ambassador for the University of
Alaska, and we are very fortunate to have him on staff."
Tordoff has been the driving force in transforming the University's
film archives from modest beginnings to a world-class collection.
Tordoff started his work in a small room with boxes of old film and
almost no written records. With his passion for Alaska's film history,
his mechanical knowledge and ingenuity, he assembled a media lab from
university surplus equipment, furniture, and computers. This simple
lab has grown into a well- respected program for film preservation and
research, which includes two climate-controlled, state of the art film
vaults in the Rasmuson Library and a small dedicated staff.
Tordoff's enthusiasm for his job in archiving Alaska's film history
has helped the University amass an incredible film collection. In
addition to preserving film, he has worked to index and catalog it,
and has shown gems from the collection around the state, and around
the world, now via the internet. His prime goal is to make it easier
for people to find material and learn from it. His passion for his
work shows people that this information is important and provides a
window into our state's past, and reflects positively on the
University of Alaska.
Tordoff's work has appeared in this country on TBS, PBS, the History
Channel, the Discovery Channel, CBS, ABC, and NBC, among others. Film
from the collection has also been used in programs aired on British
Broadcasting, New Zealand Public Television, in the Czech Republic,
Japan, Germany and other countries. In nominating Tordoff for the
award, Dr. Terrence Cole, Director and Professor of History at
University of Alaska Fairbanks said, "In many ways Dirk's work has
spread farther and wider around the world than that of anyone who has
ever worked at the university in its entire history!"
Tordoff received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the
University of Alaska Fairbanks. He started as a student assistant
working with the film collection on a small grant. Over the years he
obtained a variety of grants to support the collection. Both the
Alaska Film Archives and his position are now permanent parts of the
The Bullock Prize for Excellence includes a $20,000 cash award and is
the largest single award made annually by the UA Foundation's Board of
Trustees. The University of Alaska Foundation raises, invests and
manages privately donated funds for the sole benefit of the University
of Alaska. The award was established by the late Edith R. Bullock, who
served the university for 30 years as a member of the UA Board of
Regents and the foundation's Board of Trustees. Bullock established
the award to recognize and reward an individual who has demonstrated
excellence in support of the University of Alaska.