Mary Louise Milligan Rasmuson arrived in Alaska in 1962 after her marriage to Elmer E. Rasmuson. Together, the couple forged a future for the state.

"People like Mary Louise Rasmuson are at the heart of the American story" James Billington at the U.S. Library of Congress said. "She was an energizing, upbeat force."

In 1967, Mary began her service on the board of the Rasmuson Foundation, a post she held for 45 years, playing an active role and attending meetings regularly into her 90s. She helped to direct more than $200 million in grants to Alaska nonprofit organizations during her time there.

"Just two weeks ago, Mary Louise met with the new University of Alaska Anchorage Rasmuson Chair in Economics, and with a group of women veterans who are starting a social service organization. She offered sage advice and support to both," said Diane Kaplan, president of Rasmuson Foundation.

In 1968, thanks to her passion and personal effort, the Anchorage Museum of Art and History was realized. Two years ago she led the ribbon cutting at the latest museum expansion. Now called the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, it fulfilles her vision to create a great museum for Alaskans.