Schaible donates $1.1 million to University of Alaska Museum expansion

Posted: Thursday, August 17, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Former state attorney general Grace Berg Schaible finally fessed up: She is the secret benefactress of a generous fund created over a decade ago that today is helping the University of Alaska Museum expansion on the Fairbanks campus.

The money will go toward boosting the museum's research capabilities, said Schaible, who was attorney general from 1987 to 1989.

Schaible said Wednesday she created the fund anonymously as a private citizen in the 1980s, designating it for use by the Fairbanks campus. In 1993, she added a substantial donation -- she says she can't remember the amount -- designating the fund for museum use. The $1.1 million it generated includes fund earnings of more than a decade, according to Schaible, who said she recently decided to come forward as the benefactor.

''People kept asking me why I had not made any contributions if I was such a strong supporter of the museum,'' she said. ''It got to the point where I decided to say that I have made contributions.''

Few people are aware that the scope of the museum's mission extends beyond exhibits and education, Schaible said.

''Besides making the fine art collections more accessible and visible, a special interest of mine, this expansion will significantly enrich the museum's research capacity,'' she said in a prepared statement Tuesday.

''The natural history collections are invaluable to understanding global climate change, public health issues and the northern environment.''

Schaible is a former member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents and current president of the University of Alaska Foundation. She has been a long-standing contributor to the university system.

The $31 million expansion project is expected to be finished by 2004.

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