UAF Kuskokwim Campus Celebrates Class of 2020 And 2021

Apr 30, 2021

2020 and 2021 UAF Kuskokwim Campus graduates celebrate their commencement on April 30, 2021 at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel, Alaska.
Credit Cindy Andrecheck

The UAF Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel is celebrating its commencement ceremony virtually. The graduation will be twice as large as usual, because pandemic precautions cancelled last year’s graduation. On April 30 the campus is recognizing the class of 2020 and 2021.

Overall, 56 students will be receiving certificates; 46 students will be receiving associate’s degrees; and 14 students will be receiving bachelor’s degrees.

Find the full commencement program here.

The 2020 Full-time Student of the Year Award went to Danielle Martha Iiqtaq Epchook of Kwethluk. This year, Epchook completed her Associates of Arts degree.

The 2020 Part-time Student of the Year Award went to Chelsea Palanaq Hoffman of Bethel. Hoffman is working towards a degree in social work.

The 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award went to Dr. Diane McEachern, Associate Professor of Rural and Human Services at the Kuskokwim Campus.

The 2021 Full-time Student of the Year Award goes to Amber Ac'urunaq Evan of Kongiganak. Evan has completed her Associates Arts degree and plans to complete a Bachelors in Rural Development with a Minor in Creative Writing.

The 2021 Part-time Student of the Year Award goes to Deborah Acitmuq Michael. Originally from Kwethluk, she is graduating with a Bachelors of Social Work.

Two Elders are also receiving honors.

Elder Esther Nuqaq’aq Green of Bethel is receiving a Meritorious Service Award from UAF. She is the first educator from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to receive this distinction. Green has worked as an Elder for the Rural Human Service Program at the Kuskokwim Campus for 15 years. She translates, shares stories, and offers wisdom to mostly Indigenous students learning to become human service workers, like social workers or counselors.

Another Elder, Willie Kasayulie, is receiving an Honorary Doctor of Education. Kasayulie helped found the Yupiit Nation, served as its chief, and served on the Yupiit School District Board. He serves on the Calista Corporation Board of Directors. He was also the plaintiff in a case against the state of Alaska to ensure that rural schools received fair access to state construction funding.

The commencement starts at 1:30 p.m. on April 30 You can watch via Zoom, YouTube, Facebook Live, or listen on KYUK 640AM.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 883 7919 0468
Passcode: 495648

Facebook live:

Kuskokwim campus UAF Facebook page

Kuskokwim Consortium Library Facebook page

Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center Facebook page