Happy Howl-i-days from UAA!
Fall Commencement is approaching and I'm thrilled for the 1,069 * students who are graduating and will be the first to have the opportunity to celebrate this milestone in UAA's new Alaska Airlines Center! Nobel laureate and former Rasmuson Chair Vernon Smith will take part in the festivities as well, to receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree and Meritorious Service Award for his many accomplishments in the field of experimental economics.
Sixteen of the graduates will be students who launched nursing careers with the help of UAA's Recruiting and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing RRANN program. Last month, I felt privileged to take part in RRANN's 15th anniversary celebration, one of several UAA events set during November to recognize Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Another prominent new feature on the UAA campus is about to take shape above Providence Drive. Neeser Construction is welding together 36-inch-diameter steel pipe to form two arches supporting the Health Campus Pedestrian Bridge, which will span Providence Drive and link the new Engineering & Industry and Health Science buildings. The bridge will become not only a practical structure, but also an excellent symbol of UAA’s dynamic biomedical engineering initiatives.
This work will take place from Dec. 20 to Jan. 4, closing Providence Drive between Spirit Way and Seawolf Drive, so if you're planning to visit campus at that time, please use Piper Street and Spirit Drive as detours. The new engineering building is scheduled to open next summer and the bridge is scheduled for completion next fall.
After everyone moves into the new building next summer, Neeser will begin renovating the existing Engineering building.
Neeser has also completed most of the site preparation and foundation construction for a new 485-space Engineering parking garage, where work will resume in the spring.
* Number of Fall 2014 graduating students listed, as of Dec. 5, 2014.