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The University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is the flagship of the Univeristy of Alaska Statewide System. UAF holds the honor of being one of the few, but certainly the northernmost, of America's Land, Sea and Space Grant institutions, offering 25 certificates and 161 degrees in 115 disciplines ranging from bachelors to Ph.Ds.
Originally founded with a federal land grant in 1915 (44 years before Alaska Statehood) on what was a federal Agricultural Experiment Station, the University of Alaska, then known as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, was born. After receiving funding from the Alaska Territorial Legislature and the completion of the first building in 1922, the college opened its doors to the first class of students. A faculty of six offered 16 classes to a student body of six. Commencement in 1923 consisted of a single graduate.
In 1931 the federal government transferred the entire Agricultural Experiment Station to the college. Four years later the Alaska Legislature renamed the growing campus the University of Alaska to reflect the school's expanding role in research, teaching and public service. The Geophysical Institute was established in 1946 out of a need for scientific polar research with the first Ph.D. being awarded in 1955.
The University of Alaska had the distinct honor of hosting the Alaska Constitutional Convention in 1955 which produced The Constitution of the State of Alaska. The constitution was adopted by the delegates on February 5, 1956, ratified on April 24, 1956, and became effective when the Alaska Statehood Act was signed on January 3, 1959.
We the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land, in order to secure and transmit to succeeding generations our heritage of political, civil, and religious liberty within the Union of States, do ordain and establish this constitution for the State of Alaska. Preamble to Alaska's Constitution.
The Alaska Legislature created the Institute of Marine Science in 1960 and the Institute of Arctic Biology in 1962. UAF took over operations of the Poker Flat Research Range in 1969, which provides launch facilities for NASA and the Department of Defense. It is the only university owned rocket range in the world.
In 1970, UAF was designated as a federal sea grant institution for marine research. Today the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences operates the 133-foot research vessel Alpha Helix for the National Science Foundation out of the Seward Marine Center. The Alaska Native Language Center was established by an act of the Alaska Legislature in 1972 and in 1975 the University of Alaska statewide system was created, with additional campuses in Anchorage and Juneau.
Signficant changes continued with the opening of the University of Alaska Museum of the North in 1980. UAF enrollement topped 5,000 students for the first time in its history in 1981 as well established rural campuses in Bethel, Dillingham, Kotzebue, Nome and the Interior. Education centers in Fort Yukon, Galena, McGrath, Nenana, Tok and Unalaska provide additional education services to rural Alaskans.
In 1991 NASA named UAF as a space grant institution, thus becoming a Land, Sea and Space Grant institution, one of the few land, sea, and space grant institutions in the United States.
UAF's public service role is filled in part by the statewide Cooperative Extension Service with its eight district offices. Public broadcasting stations KUAC-FM and AlaskaONE TV, the first public stations in the state, are headquartered at the Fairbanks campus.
Today UAF is the only doctoral-granting institution in Alaska, offering Ph.D. degrees in anthropology, several of the physical and natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Master's degrees are offered in more than 50 fields in the humanities, social sciences, northern studies, physical and natural sciences, and in professional fields such as engineering, justice, education and business administration. Interdisciplinary programs are possible for students who have a research focus in areas where UAF has faculty expertise and research facilities available.
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