University of Alaska Fairbanks
Former names
Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines (1917–1935)
University of Alaska (1935–1975)
MottoAd summum (Latin)
Motto in English
"To the top"
TypePublic land-grant research university
Established1917; 107 years ago (1917)
Parent institution
University of Alaska
Academic affiliations
Endowment$375 million (system-wide) (2021)[1]
ChancellorDaniel M. White
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students6,813 (Spring 2022)[2]
Location, ,
United States

64°51′32″N 147°50′08″W / 64.85889°N 147.83556°W / 64.85889; -147.83556
CampusSmall Suburb, 2,250 acres (9.1 km2)[5]
Other campuses
NewspaperThe Sun Star
Colors  UAF Blue
  UAF Gold[6][7]
Sporting affiliations

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF or Alaska) is a public land-, sea-, and space-grant research university in College, Alaska,[9] a suburb of Fairbanks. It is the flagship campus of the University of Alaska system. UAF was established in 1917 and opened for classes in 1922. Originally named the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, it became the University of Alaska in 1935. Fairbanks-based programs became the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975.

UAF is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity."[10] In addition to the Fairbanks Troth Yeddha' campus, UAF encompasses six rural and urban campuses: Bristol Bay Campus in Dillingham; Chukchi Campus in Kotzebue; the Fairbanks-based Interior Alaska Campus, which serves the state's rural Interior; Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel; Northwest Campus in Nome; and the UAF Community and Technical College, with headquarters in downtown Fairbanks. UAF is also the home of UAF eCampus, which offers fully online programs.

In fall 2017, UAF enrolled 8,720 students. Of those students, 58% were female and 41% were male; 87.8% were undergraduates, and 12.2% were graduate students. As of May 2018, 1,352 students had graduated during the immediately preceding summer, fall, and spring semesters.[11]



Signers' Hall

The University of Alaska Fairbanks was established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, but its origins lie in the creation of a federal agricultural experiment station in Fairbanks in 1906.[12] The station set the tone for the strongly research-oriented university that developed later.[13]

In the spring of 1915, the U.S. Congress approved legislation that reserved about 2,250 acres of land for a campus around the research station. It also allowed the federal government to give the college land that had been surveyed and unclaimed in the Tanana Valley; the proceeds from the sale and development were supposed to help fund the operation of the college. However, because most of the land in Tanana Valley remained unsurveyed for years, the college only received 12,000 acres. In 1929, Congress attempted to remedy the situation by granting the college an additional 100,000 acres anywhere in Alaska, but those rights were extinguished in 1959 when Alaska became a state.[14]

Four months after Congress approved the legislation for the campus land in 1915, a cornerstone for the college was laid by Territorial Delegate James Wickersham on a bluff overlooking the lower Chena River valley. The ridge, which the indigenous Athabaskan people called Troth Yeddha', soon became known as College Hill. Charles E. Bunnell was appointed the university's chief executive and served the university for 28 years. Classes began at the new institution on September 18, 1922. It offered 16 different courses to a student body of six (at a ratio of one faculty member per student) on opening day. In 1923, the first commencement produced one graduate, John Sexton Shanly.[15]

In 1935, the Alaska Legislature passed a bill that officially changed the name of the college to the University of Alaska. When William R. Wood became the university's president in 1960, he divided the academic departments of the university into six select colleges: Arts and Letters; Behavioral Sciences and Education; Biological Sciences and Renewable Resources; Business, Economics, and Government; Earth Sciences and Mineral Industry; and Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering. From that point on, both the university's student population and research mission grew tremendously. With the appointment of Chancellor Howard A. Cutler in 1975, the University of Alaska became the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It was, and still is, the primary research unit of the statewide university system.[16]

The two other primary UA institutions are the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau.

Significant events

The Alaska Constitutional Convention was held in the freshly constructed Student Union Building on the Fairbanks campus from November 1955 to February 1956. While the convention progressed, the building became known as Constitution Hall, where the 55 delegates drafted the legal foundation of the 49th state. The campus' old library and gymnasium was renamed Signers' Hall after the Alaska Constitution was signed there in February 1956.[17][dubious ]


Academic rankings
U.S. News & World Report[20]298-389
Washington Monthly[21]269
U.S. News & World Report[24]736

Schools and colleges

UAF has nine academic schools and colleges:

There are 190 different degree and certificate programs available in more than 120 disciplines.

University of Alaska Fairbanks is located in Alaska
Main Campus
Main Campus
Bristol Bay
Bristol Bay
Location of University of Alaska Fairbanks campuses. Red dots represent community colleges.

Honors College

The UAF Honors College was created in 1983 and provides additional opportunities for students to prepare for professional school admission.[25] Students complete core curriculum courses for their degrees in the Honors Program, maintain at least a 3.25 grade-point average in all courses, and complete a thesis project.[26]


Research units

UAF is Alaska's primary research university, conducting more than 90% of UA system research. Research activities are organized into several institutes and centers, some of which are listed:

Student life


UAF has several student residence halls on both lower and middle Fairbanks campus. Housing is offered year-round. All halls are smoke-free, as is the entire campus. Each hall has a kitchen, laundry facility, exterior door hall access system and maintenance services. The halls vary from each other slightly to suit different preferences of the student population. Additional housing locations on campus are available to graduates, families, employees and nontraditional students.[30]


The Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (ASUAF) is the representative group for students attending UAF.

Fairbanks, CTC, and eCampus student pay $53 per credit in Consolidated Fees, students at rural campuses pay $21 per credit; ASUAF receives 2.2% of Consolidated Fee revenue.

ASUAF holds general elections each semester. As per the ASUAF Constitution, there is a president, a vice president and no more than 16 senators, all of whom must be in good academic standing (2.0+ CGPA). Senators, the president and the vice president have terms of one full academic year.[31]


Main article: Alaska Nanooks

Alaska vs. Air Force ice hockey game

University of Alaska Fairbanks sports teams are the Alaska Nanooks, with the word Nanook derived from the Inupiaq word for "polar bear." Though often known as UAF within the state, the university prefers to be called simply "Alaska" for athletics purposes. The school colors are blue and gold.

The Alaska Nanooks compete at the NCAA Division I level in hockey as an Independent. The Nanooks play home games at the 4,500-seat Carlson Center, located in downtown Fairbanks. The Alaska Nanooks also have a Division II rifle team which has won 11 NCAA National Rifle Championships (1994, 1999–2004, 2006–2008, 2023). The rifle team is a member of the Patriot Rifle Conference. The men's and women's basketball, cross country running, and women's volleyball teams are Division II members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the women's swim team is a member of the Pacific Collegiate Swimming Conference (PCSC), and the men's and women's Nordic skiing teams are members of the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association (RMISA). The men's basketball team, women's basketball team, and women's volleyball team play home games in the 1,622-seat Patty Center. Due to its isolation from the Lower 48 and the lack of a dome to protect against the harsh elements, Alaska does not have a football program, as is true for all three branches of the University of Alaska.

Since the UAF athletics program was operating at a financial deficit, a new student fee was initiated in 2008. This fee charges UAF students $10 per credit hour they are enrolled in, up to a maximum of $120 per semester. The fee grants students free admission to select UAF athletic events.

In fiscal year 2010, the department was able to meet financial obligations without additional year-end funding for the first time.

The department has increased scholarships for women by 95% since 2005, and was recognized by The Chronicle of Higher Education for Title IX compliance in an article titled "Turnaround Stories."


There are several book publishers at UAF, including the University of Alaska Press, the Alaska Native Language Center, Alaska Sea Grant, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network. The University of Alaska Foundation also publishes books.

Serial publications include:

The student newspaper is titled The Sun Star,[36] formed after the merger of The Polar Star, an independent student paper, and The Northern Sun, the journalism department's student newspaper.


The Fine Arts Complex hosts the Charles Davis Concert Hall, the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre and the Eva McGown Music Room. The building is also home to the UAF Art Gallery, which is used for student art shows, thesis shows and faculty shows.

The Reichardt Building was completed in 1994 is a three-story 117,435-square-foot steel-frame structure that features an extensive artwork collection.[37]

Notable faculty and alumni

See also


  1. ^ "UA Foundation - About US".
  2. ^ "College Navigator - University of Alaska Fairbanks".
  3. ^ "College Navigator - University of Alaska Fairbanks".
  4. ^ "College Navigator - University of Alaska Fairbanks".
  5. ^ "University of Alaska Fairbanks - U.S. News".
  6. ^ Official UAF Color Palette (PDF). June 27, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "University Relations Brand Guidelines".
  8. ^ "PCSC".
  9. ^ "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: College CDP, AK" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 2 (PDF p. 3/3). Retrieved 2023-07-01. Univ of Alaska Fairbanks
  10. ^ "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Center for Postsecondary Education. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  11. ^ "UAF Facts and Figures - Facts". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  12. ^ Catalogue of the Public Documents of the ... Congress and of All Departments of the Government of the United States for the Period from ... to ... U.S. Government Printing Office. 1910.
  13. ^ Davis, Neil (1992, p. 39) The College Hill Chronicles: how the University of Alaska came of Age. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Foundation.
  14. ^ Cole, Terrence (1994, p. 6) The Cornerstone on College Hill: an Illustrated History of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Press.
  15. ^ Cole, Terrence (1994, p. 7, 37 - 40) The Cornerstone on College Hill: an Illustrated History of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Press
  16. ^ Cole, Terrence (1994, p. 55, 206 - 208) The Cornerstone on College Hill: an Illustrated History of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Press.
  17. ^ Cole, Terrence (1994, p. 152 - 154) The Cornerstone on College Hill: an Illustrated History of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fairbanks, Alaska: University of Alaska Press.
  18. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  19. ^ "Forbes America's Top Colleges List 2023". Forbes. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  20. ^ "2023-2024 Best National Universities". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 22, 2023.
  21. ^ "2023 National University Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  22. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  23. ^ "World University Rankings 2024". Times Higher Education. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  24. ^ "2022-23 Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved February 25, 2023.
  25. ^ "UAF Honors Program - About Us". University of Alaska Fairbanks. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  26. ^ "UAF Honors Program - Program Requirements". University of Alaska Fairbanks. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  27. ^ "Primary Source Material". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  28. ^ "12.0 BioSciences Library | Elmer e. Rasmuson & BioSciences Libraries". Archived from the original on 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-14.
  29. ^ "Research Animals at LARS - Large Animal Research Station".
  30. ^ "Residence Life Home - University of Alaska Fairbanks". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  31. ^ "ASUAF". ASUAF Student Government. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Aurora". UAF news and information. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  33. ^ "Home - School of Natural Resources and Extension". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Ice Box official site". Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  35. ^ "permafrost - Department of English". Archived from the original on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  36. ^ "UAF Sun Star - University of Alaska Fairbanks". Retrieved 3 July 2015.
  37. ^ "Reichardt Building - Campus map and visitors' guide".
  38. ^ "Erin Pettit, Geophysicist and Glaciologist". Archived from the original on June 9, 2013. Retrieved 2016-05-17.