UA Scholars celebrate the class of 2020 at five events across Alaska

Each fall, the University of Alaska holds receptions across the state to honor the incoming class of UA Scholars. The Class of 2020 from the Fairbanks North Star Borough were celebrated on Oct. 29 at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

“The UA Scholars program keeps our best and brightest students at the University of Alaska,” said Lael Oldmixon, director of the UA Scholars program. “Today the UA Scholars are changing the University; tomorrow they will change the state.

Receptions include a formal program featuring speakers from University leadership, a UA Scholars alumni speaker and a current UA Scholar, who share remarks about opportunities at UA and how the program has benefited them. UA Scholars in attendance are individually recognized, and take a photo with University leadership. The program is immediately followed by a reception with faculty, staff, and current students. Events are open to designated UA Scholars, their families, school representatives, and friends. 

“The UA Scholars Program was incredibly helpful in successfully obtaining my bachelor’s degree and going on to my master’s degree program and teaching certification,” said Chelsey Zibell, who was the UA Scholars alumni speaker at the reception held in Fairbanks.

Events honoring the UA Scholars Class of 2020 include: 

University of Alaska Fairbanks
View a recording of the Fairbanks reception here

Kodiak College
5:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8
Campus Center, Kodiak College

University of Alaska Anchorage
7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12
Alaska Airlines Center

Mat-Su College
7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 13
Glenn Massay Theater

University of Alaska Southeast 
7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14
Egan Lecture Hall, Room 112 

This year, the UA Scholars Program celebrated its 20th anniversary. Since the program’s inception, the program has benefited 8,900 UA Scholars, including an estimated 3,000 Scholars who were the first in their families to attend college.

“The UA Scholars Program has transformed higher education in Alaska by rewarding academic achievement and attracting top Alaskan students to the University of Alaska,” said Lael Oldmixon, director of the UA Scholars Program. “Before the program was created, only about 10 percent of the state’s top high school graduates choose to attend the University of Alaska. The average is now 41 percent.”

The UA Scholars Program is a merit-based scholarship program, established in 1999 by former UA President Mark Hamilton. Students ranked in the top 10 percent of their qualified Alaska high school receive a total of $12,000, which may be used to attend any of the University of Alaska’s 16 campuses. The Award encourages students throughout Alaska to attend and graduate from the University of Alaska. Funding is provided by revenue from the university’s Land Grant Trust Fund.

The UA Scholars Program has been successful at attracting students from rural communities. The opportunity to attend college prepares them to become leaders in their home communities and Scholars serve as ambassadors between their communities and the university.

The Alaska Legislature passed a citation that recognized the success and impact of the UA Scholars program. For more about the program visit,