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UAF to Celebrate Record-Breaking Class of 2012


Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Fairbanks will honor the accomplishments of the largest 
graduating class in its history during its 90th commencement ceremony Sunday, May 13 at the Carlson Center 
in Fairbanks.

The university's first commencement took place in 1923, when the sole graduate, John Sexton Shanly, 
received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture. On Sunday, UAF expects to confer approximately 1,356 degrees 
on 1,309 students, an increase of 14 percent over last year. Some students will receive more than one 
degree. The commencement ceremony includes graduates from summer and fall 2011 and spring 2012.

The largest increase in degrees is in certificates and master’s degrees, which increased by 100 percent and 
30 percent, respectively, fromlast year. UAF is also breaking its previous record for doctorates with 50 
students slated to receive UAF’s highest degree this year. Class of 2012 graduates range in age from 18 to 
69. Several members of the University of Alaska Board of Regents will help UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers 
degrees. UA President Patrick Gamble will also participate in the ceremony.

The Dillingham High School Dancers will lead the processional. Graduates,faculty members, honorary degree 
and  Meritorious Service Award recipients, and university officials will participate in the ceremony 
at 1:20 p.m.

National Endowment for the Humanities chairman Jim Leach will give the keynote address. Leach served three 
decades in the U.S House of Representatives and had a brief foray into academia at Princeton University and 
Harvard University before being nominated by President Barack Obama to chair the Endowment. Leach attended 
Princeton University, the School of Advanced International Studies of John Hopkins and the London School of 
Economics. He holds 11 honorary degrees and is the recipient of multiple nationaland international awards.

UAF will award three honorary degrees and three Meritorious Service Awards during the commencement ceremony. 
This year’s honorary degree recipients are Leach, artist Danny Pierce and Bristol Bay Economic Development 
Corporation CEO H. Robin Samuelson Jr.  Meritorious Service Award recipients are Patty Kastelic and Bob and 
Carrie Uhl.

The student speaker is Jordan Culver, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in justice, UAF will also honor 
winners of this year’s awards for graduating seniors: Jordyn Montgomery, the Marion Frances Boswell 
Memorial Award; Gail Denning, the Gray S. Tilly Memorial Award; and Matthew Robinson, the Joel Wiegert 

John Keller, professor of chemistry, will serve as the procession’s grand marshal.  Keller is among 12 
retiring faculty and staff members who will be granted emeritus status on Sunday, a title given to those 
who have served the university with distinction for at least 10 years.

Others receiving emeritus status are: Clara Anderson, director of Interior-Aleutians Campus; David Blurton, 
professor of justice; Charles Dexter, professor of applied business; Ralph Gabrielli, associate professor 
of rural development; A.J. Gharrett, professor of fisheries; Thomas Jahns, professor of Extension; Jeffry 
Leer, professor of Alaska Native languages and linguistics; Debra Moses, associate professor of 
developmental mathematics; Jake Poole, vice chancellor for university advancement; Larry Roberts, associate 
professor of justice; and Diane Ruess, associate professor of library science.

Commencement rehearsal for graduates is Saturday, May 12, at 10:30 a.m. at the Carlson Center. There will 
also be a picnic that day immediately following rehearsal until 2 p.m. at the Carlson Center for graduates 
and their families and friends to celebrate with Chancellor Brian Rogers. Graduation mass will take place 
Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Schaible Auditorium. The Carlson Center will open for guest seating at noon on 
Sunday. The processional will begin at 1:20 p.m. The event will also be available as a webcast and will 
be broadcast over UATV via KUAC Channel 9.4. Visit www.uaf.edu/commencement and click on the webcast link.
Graduates, their families and UAF alumni are welcome to attend a reception hosted by the UAF Alumni 
Association in the Carlson Center’s Arthur Buswell Pioneer Room immediately following Sunday’s commencement 

ON THE WEB: www.uaf.edu/commencement
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