Chancellor Fran Ulmer announced an anonymous donation of $7 million on May 1, to go towards opening the Integrated Science Building and endowing a scholarship fund providing annual assistance to students.
The one-time only donation will triple the amount of needs based scholarships currently available. Of the total donation, $5 million will be placed in an endowment, with $1 million worth of scholarships available next fall.
However, the donor placed two restrictions on the gift. One was that they remain anonymous, and the second that $6 million of the gift be used for student scholarships, particularly benefiting women and minorities to the fullest extent of the law.
The award will be known as the “Seawolf Opportunity Scholarship” or “S.O.S.” The scholarship will provide tuition assistance for up to four-full years at UAA, will include $2,000 worth of either on-campus housing or licensed childcare, and $1,000 in Wolfbucks in their second, third and fourth years of attendance.
The donor told UAA that $1 million could be used in any manner they chose. Ulmer announced that rest of the donation would be used to supplement the money given by the state legislature to complete the Integrated Science Building.
The legislature approved $1.025 million for the opening of the building, short of the $2.3 million needed to open on schedule.
“We’re thrilled, it’s a great gift for the students,” Ulmer said.
Ulmer said that her office was sent a letter in March, with no return address, outlining the gift. She said that she has no idea who the donor is, and didn’t know if the donor was from Alaska or outside.
UA President Mark Hamilton noted that it seems to be one of the recent string of anonymous scholarships, targeted at universities were women are leading.
“Not only do we have to thank her (Ulmer) for leading the university, we also have to thank her for choosing the right gender,” Hamilton told the crowd.
Recently 14 other universities have been the recipients of anonymous scholarships, all with the same stipulations, totaling $75 million. All of the universities have female presidents. Michigan State University has received the most, with a $10 million award and 10 other colleges have received donations of over $5 million.