Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UAF Alumni Association honors Sfraga

The UAF Alumni Association has selected Mike Sfraga, associate dean of SNRAS, to receive an award for outstanding contributions to the university.

Sfraga has worked at the University of Alaska for over 23 years in several administrative, academic, and research leadership positions. Sfraga is the founding director of the University of Alaska Geography Program. Before that, Sfraga served as associate vice president for the University of Alaska and director of Research and Program Development for the College of Rural Alaska.

Sfraga received his PhD in Geography and Northern Studies in 1997 from UAF, the first such degree to be granted by the University of Alaska. Sfraga's areas of academic concentration are polar geography, exploration, geography of the circumpolar north, geography of Alaska, and the history of field science.

He is the author of Bradford Washburn: A Life of Exploration (2004), the first comprehensive biography of celebrated American explorer Bradford Washburn. Sfraga lectures frequently about Washburn’s work and legacy.

Sfraga is chairman of the Denali Education Center, and serves on several community and national boards, including the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, Alaska Geographic Association, Interior Issues Council (Fairbanks), and the Institute of the North. He is chair of the UA International Polar Year Community Outreach and Engagement Committee and a member of the UAF IPY Steering Committee.

Sfraga is a member of the Explorers Club, American Alpine Club, and past executive secretary of the Arctic Institute of North America. He is a mountaineer and often speaks at community programs and corporate conferences on the topics of leadership and organizational effectiveness by using mountaineering, exploration, and humor to underscore critical components of both areas.

His next book covers the history of the first ascent of Mount Fairweather. Sfraga will be recognized with the alumni achievement award at the UAF Alumni Association reunion luncheon Sept. 26 at the Princess Hotel.

SNRAS Dean Carol Lewis said, "Dr. Sfraga is adding excitement and new dimensions to the school in his role as associate dean. I congratulate him on the alumni award; he has excelled in his extensive service to UAF and certainly deserves recognition for his efforts."

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