|  July 30, 2014  |  
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Anonymous Donor Gives UAA $2 Million to Benefit First Generation College Students

ANCHORAGE, AK ­­–– A generous donor recently committed to a $2 million gift to UAA to benefit students, beginning with an immediate payment of nearly $500,000 with the remainder to be paid through a planned gift.

The donor, who has been giving to UAA to support student scholarships since 2000 and wishes to remain anonymous, has been so pleased with the impact of her gifts that she decided to make a larger commitment to endow a scholarship.

The gift will establish the First Generation Endowed Student Scholarship, which will provide scholarships to first generation students––those who are the first in their family’s history to attend college, with preference given to Alaska residents in financial need with a desire to remain in Alaska.

Half of the anonymous gift will go toward the Alaska Endowment for Excellence, which provides support to the University of Alaska Anchorage at the discretion of the chancellor. The intent of this fund is to help stop the “brain drain” by supporting programs and academic endeavors to ultimately keep students in Alaska.

“This is a very exciting gift for the university and for Alaska,” says UAA Chancellor Tom Case. “Thanks to this generous donor, the opportunities for our students truly are endless.”

A stellar example of the kind of student eligible for the First Generation Endowed Student Scholarship is Xavier Mason, a 20-year-old business management major who has started a company, HandMade, that helps Anchorage’s homeless get back on their feet.

Xavier comes from a large family (he’s the middle child of seven siblings) and his father often works 19-hour days to support the family. His father told him, “Education is the key to unlocking everything good in life.” Knowing his family would not be able to pay for his tuition, Xavier applied for scholarships to help finance his educational dreams. This semester he earned both the First Generation Endowed Student Scholarship and the Wells Fargo Career Scholarship.

“Coming from a low income family, scholarships are important because I’m working, have a business and am going to school full time,” Xavier says. “Getting a scholarship alleviates the pressure of raising money to attend college. I can now tell my peers who are living in a similar situation that there is a chance to go to college.”

For more information about the Alaska Endowment for Excellence and First Generation Endowed Student Scholarship, please contact Tlisa Northcutt at (907) 786-1211 or tanorthcutt@uaa.alaska.edu. Read Xavier Mason’s full I AM UAA profile at www.uaa.alaska.edu/iamuaa

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