FAIRBANKS — University of Alaska Regents voted Thursday to name a new life sciences building on the Fairbanks campus after famed naturalist Margaret “Mardy” Murie.
Regents voted to name the building after Murie following a work session to discuss the naming process. Both the building being considered and Murie’s candidacy had been kept secret before the vote.
Murie, who was raised in Fairbanks and became the first woman graduate of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines — eventually renamed the University of Alaska Fairbanks — died in 2003 at 101.
Margaret Murie and her biologist husband, Olaus, became legendary figures in the conservation movement, playing key roles in the creation of what became the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Their adventures as wildlife researchers were chronicled in Margaret Murie’s 1962 book, “Two in the Far North.”
She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998.
The 100,000-square-foot facility to be named in Murie’s honor is a $109 million West Ridge science building scheduled to open in fall 2013. The cutting-edge research facility will bring a significant upgrade to the laboratory and classroom space available to biology and chemistry students at UAF.
In a statement, UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers said Murie’s “life and work embody the dedication, passion and curiosity we hope to instill in our students and that our researchers strive for in their own work.”
The Margaret Murie Building will be dedicated formally in August.
Contact staff writer Jeff Richardson at 459-7518.