Many people stroll through the vibrant gardens and winding trails at UAA during the peak of summer. A perceptive passerby may detect plaques spread across campus. Imperceptible at a glance but engraved in the history of UAA, each plaque has a story behind whom or what it was dedicated to.
Who: Joyce Julane Colajezzi
Where: On a bench to the right of the “Untitled” statue outside of the UAA Bookstore.
Why: Colajezzi served the UAA community for over 30 years as Interim Director of the Bookstore and Business Services and Director of Business. Colajezzi advocated for lower textbook prices for students during her time at UAA, as shown through numerous articles from 2004 to 2010 in The Northern Light. Colajezzi is now retired.
Who: Lucy Hon Cuddy
Where: On the wall outside of the right entrance to the Daily Grind in the Lucy Cuddy Hall.
Why: Lucy Cuddy Hall was named after Lucy Hon Cuddy as a thanks for her philanthropy and service during her membership on UA’s Board of Regents. Cuddy was also chairwoman of the First National Bank of Anchorage. Cuddy lived nearly a century and passed away at 92. She volunteered with the American Red Cross during World War I and II. Cuddy has been inducted into the Alaska Press Club’s 49er Hall of Fame and the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame posthumously.
Who: Alicia Selkregg Iden
Where: In the garden to the right of the entrance to the Daily Grind in Lucy Cuddy Hall.
Why: Iden was an Italian immigrant best known for her efforts as a community organizer in Anchorage. Iden served as chairwoman of the University of Alaska Anchorage College of Fellows and was a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Alaska Foundation. Iden is also known for raising millions of dollars for Alaskan charities and receiving awards from organizations such as the National Society of Fund Raising Executives for her philanthropy and community service. Iden was an active member of the League of Women Voters 35 years of her 58-year long life.
Who: Beatrice Gray McDonald
Where: Outside to the left of the front entrance to the Beatrice McDonald Hall.
Why: McDonald was a founding member of UAA back when it was known as the Anchorage Community College, or ACC. She moved to Alaska to work as a secretary for the Alaska Railroad and used her experiences to establish secretarial training programs within UAA. McDonald is the only honorary member of the Alaska Native Secretaries Association within Alaska.
Who: Sally Monserud
Where: Outside to the right of the quad-facing entrance to Sally Monserud Hall.
Why: Monserud was one of the original faculty members of the ACC. She specialized in teaching English literature and English as a second language. Monserud was chairwoman of the National Council of Teachers of English in Alaska for multiple terms. She advocated for the creation of a university-backed native teacher training program. Monserud received an honorary doctorate of humanities from the university before passing away at age 84.
Who: Bill Rose
Where: To the right of the interior entrance of the Alaska Resources Library and Information Services in the UAA/APU Consortium Library.
Why: Rose was the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services at UAA from 1997-1999. Rose passed away in a plane crash while serving as vice chancellor. A lasting impact is left on the UAA community by his Bill Rose Memorial Award, an annual award for employees within the UAA Administrative Services Division.
Who: Eugene “Gene” Francis Short
Where: To the left of the outside entrance to Eugene Short Hall.
Why: Short served as Director and eventually Dean of the Anchorage Community College. Short established a majority of the foundational programs at UAA today, including programs in the field of electronics, dentistry, nursing, aviation, welding, social sciences and business administration. Short used his platform to host environmental seminars on campus. He regularly did community service as a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board. Short passed away at age 83.
What: UAA 50th Anniversary Garden
Where: On a large boulder within the garden outside of Rasmuson Hall.
Why: In 2004, UAA celebrated its 50th anniversary. A portion of the 12,000 plants grown within the greenhouse annually make up the garden. The composition of the garden changes every year, but the plaque itself remains constant.
What: UAA Geological Rock Garden
Where: East of the Natural Sciences Building.
Why: Over 20 plaques lie within this location, from various donors including the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Cominco Alaska, Kristene Crossen, Dan Long, Kevin May, Brian Mitchell, Northern Air Cargo, Dan Stone and others. These plaques commemorate the donation of ancient rocks, many over a million years old.