The University of Alaska Fairbanks on Tuesday morning announced a $2.5 million gift from former Fairbanks residents Leonard and Marjorie Wright.
The gift, one of the largest individual donations in UAF’s history, will support scholarships to provide up to four years of assistance to students in any degree program who demonstrate both merit and financial need. Marjorie Wright, who graduated from UAF in 1958, made the donation as part of her will.
“They’ve always helped others and education was important to them,” said Galen Dreis, the Wrights’ nephew. “Marjorie is a UAF alum and was a teacher in the Interior – giving back was part of who they were as individuals.”
The couple moved to Alaska in 1953 and spent more than 25 years living and working in the Interior. Marjorie completed her teaching degree at UAF then went on to teach in North Pole, while Leonard established a construction business. Even after they moved to the Lower 48, the couple visited Alaska and remained connected to their Interior roots. Leonard passed away in 2007. When Marjorie died in 2013 at 91, their estate provided more than $2.5 million to UAF to support student scholarships.
“Clearly the University of Alaska made an impact on their lives,” said UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers at Tuesday morning’s scholarship breakfast, where the gift was announced. “Here’s a couple who received an education at UAF and went on and gave back to the community in a remarkable way, really exemplifying the spirit of philanthropy.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: A photo of the Wrights is available online at //news.uaf.edu/wrightgift/.