Did You Know that First National Bank Alaska and UA have a shared vision for empowering Alaska through building financial skills, business acumen and educational opportunities?

A century ago, these two institutions opened their doors to Alaskans: one, a community bank in Anchorage that became First National Bank Alaska, and the other, an agriculture and mining college in Fairbanks that evolved into the University of Alaska (UA) system. Both sought to provide new opportunities for a rapidly-growing territory. 

Over the years, generations of UA students have benefitted from First National’s $5.1 million in philanthropic giving and active involvement with university boards and committees. 

As First National celebrates its 100th anniversary, a gift from the bank to the university has made possible the creation of the First National Bank Alaska Finance Lab housed at UAA. Plans for the lab include supporting exemplary business education and collaborative learning opportunities for students attending all three of Alaska’s public universities - UAA, UAF and UAS. The Finance Lab is scheduled to open in fall 2023.

For example, using the finance lab, upper-level finance students will make real-world decisions for the Seawolf Investment Fund – seeded by a $1 million gift from UAA alumnus Gary Klopfer and Jane Cuddy Klopfer. Returns on the Seawolf Investment Fund will be used to fund future programs and scholarships within the College of Business and Public Policy [CBPP]. 

“We worked with First National to design a finance lab where students from across the state can envision themselves as the future leaders of Alaska’s businesses,” said CBPP Dean John Nofsinger.

Only 21% of schools accredited by Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business have an active student finance lab that can provide invaluable hands-on experience to prepare students for the fast-paced, dynamic roles in business and finance.

Students will be able to train on finance industry-specific platforms and data sources such as Bloomberg and Capital IQ. Students will learn how to use the finance software to apply security valuation techniques, make professional presentations on stock analysis and portfolio management decisions, and partner with other UA campuses for collaborative learning including and with industry professionals on relative projects. The Finance Lab also provides a physical space for analysis and deliberations.

UA works closely with Alaska’s employers to understand current and future workforce needs. The First National Bank Alaska Finance Lab positions UA to educate the next generation of finance professionals and business leaders who will continue to strengthen the Alaska economy for the next century.