GCI awards $300,000 in scholarships to Yukon Kuskokwim Delta students

May 7, 2015

Benefits 150 students, 36 Alaska communities

Anchorage, Alaska – Alaska’s largest telecom company, GCI, awarded $300,000 in scholarships to Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta students this year, making $2.1 million available to students in the region over the past seven years through its subsidiary, United Utilities Inc.

This year, scholarships were awarded to 150 students across 40 communities in Western Alaska from Eek to Savoonga. Each recipient will receive $2,000 to go toward tuition and books at their school of choice.

UUI started the scholarship program in the early 1990s to encourage high school students in its communities to further their education and bring that knowledge and experience back to rural Alaska. The program grew from a handful of scholarships to $300,000 annually with GCI’s acquisition of UUI in 2008.

Audrey Johnson of Emmonak, Alaska, used the scholarship to offset costs of attending the University of Alaska. After graduating in 2012, she was hired as a kindergarten teacher by the Lower Yukon School District. “The journey to reach my goal wasn't easy and I know that without GCI and UUI’s support it could have been impossible to finally reach my dream of having my own classroom,” explained Johnson.

"The scholarship has benefitted many students in the Lower Kuskokwim region,” said Daniel Walker, superintendent of the Lower Kuskokwim School District. “We love the idea that students from this region are able to graduate from post-secondary institutions and return to work with the school district and local businesses.”

“GCI is committed to the communities we serve, and we’re proud that this scholarship program has such a far reaching impact in the Y-K Delta,” said Greg Chapados, executive vice president and chief operating officer for GCI. “As a major employer in Alaska and this region, we are happy to support the development of a trained and skilled workforce. We hope that many of the scholarship awardees will have the opportunity to come back to work in their home communities in the Delta.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must live in a location serviced by UUI, be a graduating senior or have a high school diploma, have a 2.0 or better grade point average, have plans to be a full- or part-time student at an institute of higher education and have an interest in returning to a rural community after graduation.

GCI is the largest Alaska-based and operated integrated telecommunications provider offering voice, data and video services statewide. Learn more about GCI at www.gci.com/about

Media contact:
David Morris, GCI

Gary Scott, Thompson & Co. PR