UA Foundation Announces New Directors

December 16, 2022

Anchorage, AK - The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors elected five new members and extended the terms of three members at its Dec. 15 meeting. 

The board received an update on the University system’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, and heard of major impacts from recent philanthropic gifts made to University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), and University of Alaska Southeast (UAS).

Elected to their first three-year term on the University of Alaska Foundation board were:

  • Ben Roth, owner of SBS Retirement Consultants, LLC and an alum of UAA,
  • Dave Karp, senior vice president and managing director at Saltchuk,
  • John Burns, president and CEO of Golden Valley Electric Association and an alum of UAF, 
  • Melissa Reiser, vice president of commercial lending at First National Bank Alaska, and
  • Tammy Kosa, senior vice president at Northrim Bank and an alum of UAF.

Reelected for a three-year term were:

  • Aleesha Towns-Bain, executive director at Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation,
  • Heather Cavanaugh, director of external affairs and corporate communications at Alaska Communications and an alum of UAA, and
  • Stephanie Madsen, executive director at At-Sea Processors Association.

The board recognized the volunteer leadership of the outgoing board members:

  • Jo Heckman, president and managing partner, DAS and Associates, LLC, who served for five years,
  • Cindy Cartledge, of counsel, Jermain, Dunnagan and Owens, who served for nine years, including two years as chair,
  • Linda Hulbert, agent, New York Life Insurance Company, who served for nine years, and 
  • Cary Keller, orthopedic surgeon, chief of sports medicine and assistant medical director, Foundation Health Partners - Sportsmedicine Fairbanks, who served for nine years. 

“The UA Foundation is strengthened by the volunteer efforts of highly-skilled professionals from a variety of industries,” said Board Chair Laura Bruce. “While they hail from different parts of the state, all share a passion for education and a belief in the importance of the University of Alaska system.”

The board also heard an update about the tremendous success of the UA system's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. The For Alaska campaign has received support from more than 18,000 donors as of December 1, 2022, who have contributed $209.8 million collectively to support nearly every facet of the UA system. Some of the impacts to date include 198 new scholarships and 151 new endowed funds created by donors to benefit students and programs.

The campaign ends June 30, 2024, and all private donations to UAA, UAF, UAS and UA system are counted in the campaign total. 

Additional philanthropy milestones shared at the meeting include:

  • The UAA Seawolf Investment Fund has awarded six student scholarships from its investment earnings. The Fund was established last year with a $1 million donation from UAA alum Gary Klopfer and his wife, Jane Cuddy Klopfer, and its investments are guided by UAA upper level finance students in the College of Business and Public Policy.
  • Eight students resettled from Ukraine are currently enrolled at UAA, with support from the Ukrainian Student Support fund.
  • University of Alaska Southeast Alaska Native Arts Design and Carving program received $30,000 from Goldbelt to support a student-carved totem.
  • With support from the Sealaska Heritage Institute, UAS has launched free Alaska Native language classes.
  • UAF has established the Cornerstone Legacy Society comprised of people who included, or plan to include, UAF in their estate plans. 


The University of Alaska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit corporation established in 1974 to work in partnership with the University of Alaska system and its three universities to seek, secure and steward philanthropic support. 


For more information, contact Cassandra Stalzer, manager of public relations, at 907-786-7729.