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John S. O'Dell Scholarship

Born in Buffalo, New York, to L. Dwight (L.D.) and Ruth O’Dell, John Seymour O’Dell was raised on Chaffee, New York, near the family’s dairy farm. He was active in sports and chorus at Arcade Central High School. He graduated in 1959. After attending Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, he transferred to the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, where he received his B.A. in biological sciences in 1964 and was a member of the Lambda Chapter of Phi Sigma Society, a national honor society promoting academic achievement and research in the biological sciences.

Following graduation, O’Dell lived in Nikiski, Alaska, for 47 years, working in various capacities in oilfield construction, exploration, production and maintenance. Prior to final retirement in 2009, he spent more than a decade as an oilfield, electrical power generation equipment and troubleshooting consultant, as well as a project management consultant. His hobbies included hunting, fishing, travel, hiking, astronomy, particle physics, home renovation/improvement projects, reading and studying the world of investments.

O’Dell was known as a man of intellectual curiosity, bold adventure, utmost grace and deep kindness. He passed away in 2017.

Kenai and Nikiski were O’Dell’s home and he endeavored to build and strengthen these communities by lifting up the people around him. Through earnest inquiry and encouragement, O’Dell inspired people to reinvent themselves, elevate their talents and pursue their spark. This legacy gift is intended to perpetuate his inspiration.


If you are interested in supporting students through the student opportunity fund this donor supports, please note the UAA scholarship name within the gift designation section at: Donate Now.