Calvin J. Lensink Endowment

Perry Barboza, chairman of the UAF wildlife biology program, read one of Lensink's poems during the announcment of the Calvin J. Lensink Endowment. Photo by Monique Musick

Alumnus creates $650,000 wildlife program endowment

University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers announced this week that a $650,000 gift from the estate of alumnus Calvin J. Lensink will provide support for graduate students and research focusing on wildlife management and ecology. The Lensink endowment is the largest private gift in the history of UAF’s wildlife biology program.

“We are deeply grateful to Calvin Lensink and his family for investing in UAF’s wildlife biology program,” said Rogers. “This gift will help prepare generations of resource managers for Alaska and carry on Dr. Lensink’s legacy of service and excellence in wildlife science.”

Lensink’s long and distinguished career in Alaska is especially notable for his involvement of university graduate students in his research. He epitomized the citizen-scholar, from his University of Alaska master’s thesis on Alaska pine martens to his 30-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Lensink’s doctoral dissertation remains the most important record of the history of the Alaska sea otter population.

“Lensink was one of the first five students to graduate from the wildlife program at UAF and he continued his relationship with the wildlife program long after he graduated,” said Perry Barboza, professor of wildlife biology and chairman of the UAF wildlife biology program. “The Lensink fund will support graduate student and postdoctoral scientist fellowships that will enable UAF to continue our tradition of educating many of Alaska and the world’s wildlife managers.”

One of Lensink’s many lasting contributions to Alaska was his involvement in the birth of the state’s National Wildlife Refuges. In 1971, while serving as manager of the Clarence Rhode National Wildlife Range in Alaska, he was assigned a six-week detail in Washington, D.C., where he provided Congress with expert information on identification, delineation and justification of areas of significance in Alaska. His knowledge and guidance helped identify what are today 76 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

“Graduate students will use this gift to address some of the most vexing and problematic questions of wildlife management in Alaska and they will be working with Alaska resource agencies to develop innovative methods and management techniques,” said Brian Barnes, professor of zoophysiology and director of the UAF Institute of Arctic Biology.

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