UA Foundation Hosts Celebration of Alaska Native Partners

June 8, 2023

dancers perform at the Celebrating Alaska Native Partners event
Celebrating Alaska Native Partners ceremony

The University of Alaska Foundation Board of Directors hosted the Celebrating Alaska Native Partners dinner on June 6, 2023. It was an extraordinary event that brought together Alaska Native corporations, education foundations, tribes, and businesses with UA Foundation board members, UA regents, UA system office leadership, and leaders and students from UAA, UAF, and UAS . The evening kicked off with a performance by the Aciquq dance group, leading the attendees from the reception to dinner.

Roald Helgesen, COO of Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, a UA Foundation board member and UAA alum, took the stage to welcome everyone and express his pride in the partnership between the UA system and Alaska Native corporations, tribes, and nonprofits. He highlighted the impact that Alaska Native people have had on education and their contribution to building a world-class university system in Alaska.

Aaron Leggett, president of Native Village of Eklutna Tribal Council and UAA alum, delivered a land acknowledgement, recognizing the Indigenous heritage of the land.

Laura Bruce, chair of the UA Foundation Board of Directors, expressed gratitude to the attendees for their support in surpassing $224 million in funds raised through the For Alaska campaign. The philanthropic campaign has created numerous scholarship opportunities and endowments, making higher education more accessible to Alaska students.

Emily Edenshaw, president and CEO of the Alaska Native Heritage Center and a UAA alum, shared her insights and goals in promoting education and cultural preservation.

UA President Pat Pitney emphasized the importance of integrating Indigenous knowledge and values into UA’s culture. She highlighted the Alaska Native Success Initiative and its leaders at the three universities in ensuring the representation and success of Alaska Native students, faculty, and staff.