FAIRBANKS - The University of Alaska Fairbanks held its 86th commencement ceremony, conferring 1,185 degrees on 1,125 students.
Alaska writer laureate and criminal defense investigator John Straley was the keynote speaker on Sunday, urging the students to give the day their full attention.
"Listen, here we are, and it could have been otherwise, but this moment is calling each of us to its attention so that we may look, consider and answer," Straley said.
Straley was awarded an honorary doctoral degree along with Larry Aumiller, longtime manager of the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary; Native art expert Bill Holm; and aviator and businessman Richard Wien.
In the 2007-08 school year, UAF's graduates were 55 percent female. The youngest graduate was 18, while the oldest was 66. Alaska Natives made up 20 percent of the graduates.
William Pfeifer Jr. is the 2008 recipient of the Joel Wiegert Award, which recognizes the outstanding graduating senior man. Among his other accomplishments, Pfeifer served as a tutor for the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program and ministered through the Campus Catholic Ministry. He will attend Purdue University in the fall to pursue a graduate degree in computer science.