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Spirit of KUAC Award Goes to Patty Kastelic

Apr 9, 2019 | Education, Media & Arts, News

KUAC has named longtime volunteer and supporter Patty Kastelic the recipient of the 2019 Spirit of KUAC award, which recognizes the station’s volunteer of the year.

“KUAC is a treasure,” said Kastelic, who is not only a volunteer, but also a staunch advocate and champion for public broadcasting in Interior Alaska.

Kastelic has lived in Fairbanks since 1980. “I immediately fell in love with KUAC; it became my best friend,” she said.

“Patty has worked in the background and foreground with KUAC for nearly four decades, everything from fundraising to advocacy,” said Keith Martin, KUAC’s general manager. “Without Patty, there would not be a KUAC as the community knows it right now. She has been the best staff member that I have ever worked with that did not require a paycheck; she is outright fantastic.”

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kastelic grew up in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. After earning an English degree at the University of Illinois, she moved to New York City to work at Albert Einstein College of Medicine as an electron microscopy technician. She spent a year in Paris then landed in Oklahoma for several years, where she met Sam Stoker, a biologist specializing in marine mammals. Kastelic moved to Fairbanks to be with him and to have a little Alaska adventure.

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“I’m still here; this is my home,” she said.

Kastelic was the first director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Women’s Center, then UAF’s director of student affairs and finally executive director of human resources for the UA system. In the 1980s, Kastelic hosted her own interview program, “Home Fires,” for KUAC FM. She served 16 years on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission.

Since retiring in 2000, she has remained active in the community, helping KUAC with fundraising events, serving on the Georgeson Botanical Garden Society Board of Directors and supporting the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. She also is a founding donor to the fund that supports the Ruth Lister Scholarship, which helps single parents attend the UAF Community and Technical College.

She always makes time to listen to her favorite KUAC FM programs: “Hidden Brain,” “Fresh Air” and all the Saturday morning programming. She also enjoys nature programs and “Antiques Roadshow” on KUAC TV.

“The programming is tailored to Alaska’s sensibilities and interests,” Kastelic said. “KUAC keeps us informed and entertained. It has a community feeling, and it’s like a chosen family.”

KUAC is a service of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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Alaska Business Magazine September 2019

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Mining has long been a key fixture of Alaska’s economy. On a small scale, people flock to the 49th state to tour different operations. Kennecott Mine was once a booming copper mining site and is now a National Historic Landmark, attracting tourists eager to visit the ghost town and get a feel of the Gold Rush era it once dominated.

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