Dr. Amy Eisenberg is recommending the Dillingham elder for the honorary degree, based on his many contributions to the Yup'ik community.
DILLINGHAM: Elder Gust Bartman is being nominated for an Honorary Doctor of Letters through the University of Alaska Fairbanks for his contributions to the Yup'ik community.
"He's a teacher, storyteller, and mentor," said Dr. Amy Eisenberg, an Ethnoecologist who is recommending Bartman for the honorary degree.
The nomination also contains references to Bartman's service in World War II, including as a translator, his academic work studying and translating Yup'ik language and heritage, and his efforts to speak up for Alaska Native people to abstain from drug and alcohol abuse. Bartman's storied life also includes a number of years boxing, which included at least one run-in with heavyweight champion Joe Lewis.
Dr. Eisenberg said that Gusty is currently working on a book about the Nushagak River dialect of the Yup'ik language, a project she hopes some young people might volunteer to help him finish.
The honorary degree nomination is due Friday. Dr. Eisenberg is soliciting letters, phone calls, and emails from those that know Gusty to support the nomination.
"I know he's a beloved friend and mentor to many people here, and letters in support of Gusty's impacts and achievements will really help make this nomination more compelling," said Eisenberg.
**By following this link, you can find the contact information to send letters / emails / faxes / phone calls to the UAF Provost's office.