ISER honors and remembers ISER’s founder, George Rogers—who was a well-respected economist in Alaska long before statehood.  When the Alaska Legislature established the institute on April 13, 1961, George Rogers was instrumental in getting the new research organization off the ground— and then for the next half century made huge contributions to Alaskans’ understanding of their economy and their state, in hundreds of analyses and several books. He died in October 2010, at the age of 93.

George Rogers

George Rogers,
Photo Credit: Bob Hallinen, Anchorage Daily News 1987

If it had not been for George Rogers and Vic Fischer—who became ISER’s first director—there might never have been an ISER. It was Rogers who, at the request of state officials, did the first fiscal analysis of the State of Alaska. He had lived in Juneau since the 1940s, had been an advisor to territorial governors, and had campaigned for statehood. After Alaska became a state, in 1959, George Rogers and a few colleagues realized that the new state had no organization capable of studying the big social and economic changes Alaska faced—and they proposed to the new Alaska Legislature that it create the organization that later became ISER.

The legislature approved establishment of a research organization, within the University of Alaska, to develop and publish economic and demographic information for the young state—and it appropriated $5,415 for that purpose. A few years later, in 1966, Vic Fischer, ISER’s first director, persuaded the Ford Foundation to provide a major grant that allowed ISER to begin building a research organization—with George Rogers as the anchor—capable of broadly studying Alaska’s people, economy, and government.

Thanks to the pioneering efforts of George Rogers and Vic Fischer, ISER today has become a preeminent research organization with an annual budget in the millions of dollars and a multidisciplinary staff with a broad reputation for thoughtful, objective research on all the major public policy issues facing Alaska.

Much of George Rogers work is available through ISER and is included in a searchable publications list.

ISER has established a fellowship fund to encourage emerging scholars to conduct research in Alaska.

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund

George Rogers was an unassuming giant among Alaska’s founding fathers. A scholar as well as an active participant in Alaska’s economic development, George Rogers was the initiator and guiding light of the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER). He nurtured and mentored hundreds of young researchers over the years. In 2011, on ISER’s 50th anniversary, the George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund was established at ISER to encourage young scholars and promote research opportunities in Alaska.

An Investment in the Future

The George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund at ISER will support (1) doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships for Alaska-based research in social sciences; and (2) annual competitive George Rogers Research Awards for undergraduate and graduate students. These awards are intended to encourage early- career investments in Alaska- and Arctic-based research; to help recruit promising young faculty; and to further enhance ISER’s effectiveness in dealing with policy issues of significance to Alaska and the nation.

To make a gift to the George Rogers Emerging Scholars Fund:

University of Alaska Foundation
1815 Bragaw Street, #203
Anchorage, AK 99508

Please state that your gift is for the George Rogers Fund.

For more information, contact UAA’s Office of Development