President Pitney delivers third “State of the University” Address

March 3, 2023

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney delivered her third “State of the University” Address on Tuesday, February 21, during the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce’s weekly business luncheon. A video recording and copy of the speech can be found on the President’s State of the University website.

The news was positive: The University of Alaska has turned the corner and is focused on our communities and partners to meet the broad challenges and opportunities for the state. We have fiscal stability for the first time in 9 years, and this spring - a growing student body. And last year we reached the highest–ever level of externally funded research and we are about to eclipse that record again this year. 

We are Empowering Alaska – focusing on a strong workforce and a vibrant economic future.  

Some key highlights from the address:

  • Fulfilling our Land Grant Deficit: After decades without the land for our land grant university, at the end of session Senator Murkowski got Congress to pass the University of Alaska Fiscal Foundation Act. As a result, UA can now work with DNR and BLM to triple our current land holdings to over 500,000 acres.
  • Empowering Alaska’s Workforce: The success and future growth of Alaska are inextricably tied to the University System. Our universities and their campuses are key economic and workforce drivers in their home communities. Over the last 10 years, we’ve awarded more than 44,000 degrees and certificates with 72% of them in Alaska’s highest-demand employment fields. And, 80% of graduates from our universities are working here in Alaska within a year after graduation. 
  • Empowering Alaska’s Economy and Future: In addition to surveying the university’s contributions to economic and workforce development throughout Alaska, President Pitney’s address spotlighted the role UA’s world-class research plays in driving the future. From drones to Arctic research to mariculture and more, UA continues to produce research that is helping empower the next generation of Alaska leaders. 
  • Empowering World-Class Research: UA research brings $182 million of economic activity in the state. UAF accounts for 89% of that. This funding is competitive, it comes to Alaska because of the quality faculty, and the focus and infrastructure built over decades. Our students, staff, and faculty are helping chart the course of our future, and as the nation’s only Arctic state, their research is especially important.

Be proud of your University - UAA, UAF, and/or UAS. Encourage your employees, friends, or neighbors to complete that degree that’s almost finished. Or start the next credential to advance. The University of Alaska is an engine that can help empower Alaska’s future. Let’s build that future together.