From the Archives, Nov. 1, 1947: ‘Our First Birthday’

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Just one year ago on October 24th there appeared on our campus a four-page mimeographed newspaper, the first edition of the POLAR STAR. The editors promised that if interest was sufficient in their infant publication they would attempt to publish a newspaper by and for the students.

Is is very probable they didn’t anticipate either the struggle they would have to make to keep their fledgling alive nor the support they would receive from all sources once the student body realized the value of their own free press. Before that support materialized the paper postponed many deadlines, but sooner of later the POLAR STAR would again make its appearance. Then, with student interest awakened, the paper finally received a measure of recognition from the student council. They backed the paper to the tune of an expense account of two dollars per week with the stipulation the POLAR STAR was to be distributed free to all students. More talent was then recruited and by the end of the school year we could boast a circulation of five hundred copies every alternate Saturday. We had emerged as an eight page tabloid with regular columns and much local advertising.

The POLAR STAR had become the official organ of the Associated Students of the University of Alaska. We were an integral part of campus life, eagerly awaited each issue date by students and faculty alike. We had just begun to awaken to our responsibility as the organ of student expression when summer vacation rolled around again, and the POLAR STAR was put on ice for the summer. Its first editors and contributors had kept faith with their ideas and their ideals.

This fall arrived to find that the first editors of the POLAR STAR had moved on to other fields, they had entrusted their baby to us. They had also passed on to us their tradition of a completely free press. The value of the legacy they left to us is beyond calculation. And so on this our first birthday, the staff wishes to acknowledge the debt we owe to those men who struggled so valiantly to keep our publication and to make this day possible. We dedicate this first anniversary edition to its first editors, Milton Lightwood, Fred Sorri and Clem Clement. Men with a vision. May we carry on as you did before us!

The staff wishes to thank all the students who have contributed to the success of the POLAR STAR. We wish to thank our many local advertisers without whose support we would have been unable to continue publications. Our thanks go to Jessen’s Publishing Company for the times they did their utmost for t us. Their experienced help has been invaluable. Lastly, we wish to thank those anonymous persons who made the path easier by their unstinting support of our efforts.

The POLAR STAR takes this opportunity to report to all that we are today on a secure financial foundation, that a bigger and better paper is on the drawing board for the future, and that we will do our utmost to produce the kind of paper we know you all want.

Happy Birthday.

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