“KUAC is a treasure,” said Patty Kastelic, the public broadcasting station’s volunteer of the year. Kastelic, the 2019 Spirit of KUAC awardee, is not only a volunteer, but a staunch advocate and champion for public broadcasting in Interior Alaska. “I immediately fell in love with KUAC; it became my best friend,” she said.
Keith Martin, KUAC’s general manager, said, “Patty has worked in the background and foreground with KUAC for nearly four decades, everything from fundraising to advocacy. Without Patty, there would not be a KUAC as the community knows it right now. She has been the best staff member that I have ever worked with that did not require a paycheck; she is outright fantastic.”
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Kastelic grew up in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. After earning an English degree at the University of Illinois, she moved to New York City to work at Albert Einstein College of Medicine as an electronmicroscopy technician. She spent a year in Paris then landed in Oklahoma for several years where she met Sam Stoker, a marine biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Kastelic moved to Fairbanks in 1980 to be with him and to have a little Alaska adventure. “I’m still here; this is my home,” she said.
At UAF, Kastelic was the first director of the Women’s Center, then director of Student Affairs and finally the executive director of human resources for the University of Alaska. In the 1980s, Kastelic hosted her own interview program, “Home Fires,” for KUAC FM. She served 16 years on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission.
Since retiring in 2000, she has remained active in the community, helping KUAC with fundraising events, serving on the Georgeson Botanical Garden Society Board of Directors and supporting the Fairbanks Community Food Bank. She also is a founding member of the Ruth Lister scholarship fund for single parents attending the Community and Technical College.
Of course she makes time to listen to her favorite KUAC FM programs: “Hidden Brain,” “Fresh Air” and all the Saturday morning programming and watching nature programs and “Antiques Roadshow” on KUAC TV. “The programming is tailored to Alaska’s sensibilities and interests,” Kastelic said. “KUAC keeps us informed and entertained. It has a community feeling and it’s like a chosen family.”
Kastelic enjoys gardening, socializing with friends, travel, Jazzercise and attending concerts, plays and community events.