Rasmuson leaves $19 million to University of Alaska

Posted: Sunday, January 14, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alaska banker Elmer Rasmuson, who died last month, left more than $19 million to the University of Alaska Foundation in his will, part of a total of $400 million the Alaska pioneer left to charity.

Rasmuson, who headed National Bank of Alaska before it was sold to Wells Fargo, gave the university foundation nearly 400,000 shares of Wells Fargo stock, coupled with specific directions on how it should be used.

The gift from Rasmuson boosted the Foundation's assets by more than 25 percent, said Scott Taylor, executive director of the university foundation. The foundation had assets of about $70 million before Rasmuson's gift, he said.

Rasmuson was a member of the university's board of regents for nearly two decades, serving as president of the board for much of that time. He had already made substantial gifts to the university.

The banker decided the $19 million should be split four ways:

--The Rasmuson Library on the Fairbanks campus will get $5 million for buying and taking care of rare books and periodicals;

--Five million dollars will go toward expansion of the UAF museum, fulfilling a pledge Rasmuson made last fall;

--Four million dollars will be used for scientific fellowships at the Rasmuson Fisheries Research Institute;

And $5 million will endow economics chairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

The Wells Fargo stock is being sold by the foundation and invested in a pooled endowment fund with a diversified portfolio, according to Taylor of the foundation.

Rasmuson's support of higher education wasn't limited to the university system he helped to shape. He left about $5 million to Alaska Pacific University as well.

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