Tordoff Named 2010 Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence Winner
Dirk Tordoff, head of the Alaska Film Archives at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Rasmuson Library, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the University of Alaska Foundation’s Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence.
"We are pleased to present this year's Edith R. Bullock Prize for Excellence to Dirk Tordoff,” commented Mike Felix, chair of the foundation’s board of trustees. “His exemplary work over the last 17 years has built what is arguably one of the world's foremost sources for historical film footage about Alaska and the Arctic. Not only has he amassed an incredible volume of film footage, but he has also made this generous body of work available to the public through his untiring efforts. Dirk is a great ambassador for the University of Alaska, and we are very fortunate to have him on staff.”
Tordoff has been the driving force in transforming the University’s film archives from modest beginnings to a world-class collection. Tordoff started his work in a small room with boxes of old film and almost no written records. With his passion for Alaska’s film history, his mechanical knowledge and ingenuity, he assembled a media lab from university surplus equipment, furniture, and computers. This simple lab has grown into a well- respected program for film preservation and research, which includes two climate-controlled, state of the art film vaults in the Rasmuson Library and a small dedicated staff.
Tordoff’s enthusiasm for his job in archiving Alaska’s film history has helped the University amass an incredible film collection. In addition to preserving film, he has worked to index and catalog it, and has shown gems from the collection around the state, and around the world, now via the internet. His prime goal is to make it easier for people to find material and learn from it. His passion for his work shows people that this information is important and provides a window into our state’s past, and reflects positively on the University of Alaska.
Tordoff’s work has appeared in this country on TBS, PBS, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, CBS, ABC, and NBC, among others. Film from the collection has also been used in programs aired on British Broadcasting, New Zealand Public Television, in the Czech Republic, Japan, Germany and other countries. In nominating Tordoff for the award, Dr. Terrence Cole, Director and Professor of History at University of Alaska Fairbanks said, “In many ways Dirk’s work has spread farther and wider around the world than that of anyone who has ever worked at the university in its entire history!”
Tordoff received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He started as a student assistant working with the film collection on a small grant. Over the years he obtained a variety of grants to support the collection. Both the Alaska Film Archives and his position are now permanent parts of the Rasmuson Library.
The Bullock Prize for Excellence includes a $20,000 cash award and is the largest single award made annually by the UA Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The University of Alaska Foundation raises, invests and manages privately donated funds for the sole benefit of the University of Alaska. The award was established by the late Edith R. Bullock, who served the university for 30 years as a member of the UA Board of Regents and the foundation’s Board of Trustees. Bullock established the award to recognize and reward an individual who has demonstrated excellence in support of the University of Alaska.