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Alaska Pacific University (APU) is a small liberal arts college located in Anchorage, Alaska, that emphasizes experiential and active learning. The university is a member of the Eco League, a group of five small universities and colleges with strong programs in Psychology and Environmental Studies as well as related topics.
Frederick P. McGinnis (1921–2012) was the university's first president. McGinnis served for over a decade until Alaska governor William A. Egan appointed him to head the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.
Founded in the late 1950s, Alaska Pacific University is the most recent of the more than 1200 United Methodist educational institutions founded in America over the last 200 years. In 1956, Alaska's territorial police granted permission for the placement of signs to mark the college site for promotional purposes. Alaska Pacific University, chartered as Alaska Methodist University by the Territory of Alaska in 1957, dedicated its campus on June 28, 1959.
It is unclear on the exact history, as the APU website history link states, "DR. Peter Gould, a founder of AMU and the first president in 1960". In April 1958, Dr. Donald F. Ebright was elected as the university's first president. However, Frederick P. McGinnis served as the first president of the university; his obituary in the Anchorage Daily News read, "Fred served as President of Alaska Methodist University from 1960-1970, and oversaw the early development of the University. He acquired the 500 acres of Anchorage land that would become the site of AMU."
The Grant Hall cornerstone laying ceremony was held on July 12, 1959. When the first students enrolled in classes beginning October 1, 1965, campus facilities were limited and consisted only of Grant Hall—the academic and student center—and Gould Hall, the student residence. As enrollments and programs grew significantly, other buildings were added, including the Atwood Center, the Ruth and Homer Moseley sports center (1982), and the Carr Gottstein Academic Center (1992).
The university's new president Glenn Olds, from Kent State University—assisted by Natale Sicuro, also from Kent State—led a reorganization of the university in 1977, restructuring academic programs. Shortly after, in November 1978 Alaska Methodist University was renamed Alaska Pacific University to better reflect its educational mission and geographical location. The university continues to be firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian traditions found in United Methodism, but there is no sectarian or doctrinal creed found in its educational offerings. In 1991, the university established the Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Theology through an endowment from the Catholic Archdiocese, a significant example of the university's ecumenism.
The Early Honors Program is both an alternative to the senior year in high school and a challenging springboard into college. During both semesters, Early Honors students enroll in a common university-level curriculum which is intended to satisfy the senior level requirements of the Anchorage and Mat-Su School Districts. Depending on the student's remaining requirements, they will have the opportunity to select courses from the Alaska Pacific course catalog relevant to their academic interests. The Fall Block starts off the Early Honors program with Critical Thinking. Students move into the Session in late September and finish their semester by mid-December. Many of the students elect to participate in the Study Abroad option for the Spring Block but alternatives are available on-campus. The Spring Session begins in early February. The Early Honors program is heavily promoted within Anchorage and high school students are very prominent on campus and in classes.
Campus undergraduates often take advantage of Active Learning, Personal Attention, the Block and Session system, Journeys, Travel Courses, the Eco League, and the Senior Project. Campus life is vibrant and varied, and the Outdoor Program opens the door to Alaska adventure for all students. This spirit of adventure and challenge exists in all academic areas — Business, Psychology, Earth Sciences, Education, Environmental Science, Liberal Studies, Marine Biology, Environmental Studies, and Outdoor Studies.
Alaska Pacific University offers ten different graduate programs including: Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology (PsyD), Master of Arts (MAP), Master of Business Administration (MBA), MBA in Information and Communication Technology (MBAICT), Certificate of Graduate Studies in Investments, MBA with a concentration in Health Services Administration (MBAHSA), Master of Science in Environmental Science (MSES), Master of Science in Outdoor and Environmental Education (MSOEE), Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MSCP), Certification Only - Option Program (CO-OP), & Master of Arts in Teaching (K-8) (MAT). At Alaska Pacific, graduate students should maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. Good time management skills, being focused and persistent are equally important. Perhaps the most important quality is the ability to establish good working relationships with your fellow students, faculty and internship mentors.
Adult Undergraduates can take advantage of the many degree options designed for busy adults. The degrees available to adult undergraduates seek to build a competency base relevant for professional careers in Accounting, Business Administration and Management, Health Services Administration, Human Services, and K-8 Education. Adult Undergraduates can complete these degrees on-campus in the evening, online, or a mixture of both. APU developed a life-friendly schedule for their Adult population. During a 15-week semester most 3 credit hour courses are offered in two 7 week modules and 4 credit hour courses last for 11 weeks.
The Atwood Campus Center houses the university's student union plus dormitories.
South Atwood is three stories tall and has 12 suites. It is the default boarding location for incoming freshmen.
North Atwood is located directly across from South Atwood and is a three-story building consisting of suites of upper-class students. There are a variety of suites available in North Atwood, ranging from one person suites to spacious multi-bedroom suites. Historically, North Atwood is home to returning students, transfer students and graduate students.
The University Village is composed of five, two-story duplex homes with a total of ten living areas located a short distance from Atwood Center. Each house has an upper & lower unit, and each unit has three or four bedrooms, a dining area, kitchen, living room, and two full bathrooms.
Segelhorst Hall (which opened in August 2007) has six four-bedroom apartments. Each apartment features a common living area, kitchen, and two full bathrooms.
Grant Hall is the oldest academic building and is home to the Environmental Science, Liberal Studies, Marine Biology, and Outdoor Studies programs. On the first floor of Grant Hall are located business offices such as Information Technology, Accounting and Finance, Student Financial Services, Registrar, and the President’s Office. On the second floor are classrooms reserved for a number of classes. Most Liberal Studies instructors and Professors officers are here, as well as the Office of Advancement. The third floor has the Outdoor Studies gear room, the GIS lab, the chemistry lab and the biology/geology lab where there is a top notch aquarium system.
Carr Gottstein is the most recent academic building and where most of the Psychology and Education programs/instructors are located. The Admissions and RANA offices are found on the first floor along with some classrooms. The second floor has most of the classrooms and offices.
The Moseley Sports Center is where the pool and gym are found. This facility is of great value to students and is often taken advantage of by even members of the greater Anchorage community. The pool and gym hours vary from academic year to summer and can be found on Alaska Pacific University’s website.
The Atwood Center, named for Robert Atwood, is located directly in between the dormitories of North and South Atwood. It includes a cafeteria, the student center, a chapel, and assorted university offices. The Atwood Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the location (along with North and South Atwood) of a major conference of Alaska Natives at the time of the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971.
Other buildings on the campus include the Gould Hall, Grace Hall and a new office building, buildings that are all occupied by the USGS. A medical building is also located on the APU campus, the Spinal Institute. The President's house is located directly behind the Mosley Sports Center. In Palmer, AK, there is the Kellogg farm of 700 acres (2.8 km2) that was donated to Alaska Pacific University in 1973 by the first woman to serve on the AMU board of trustees, Louise Kellogg. Today this is the place for the study of nature and sustainability.
Alaska Pacific University is renowned for its Nordic Ski Team. The 2007-2008 team included Kikkan Randall, who was the first American woman on a World Cup Podium, first American woman in the Olympic top 10 and a 7 time U.S. National Champion. According to the Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center, the University Elite Team is composed of "professional student athletes" and "also members [...] who are solely focusing on their ski racing."
The APU Nordic Ski Center was established in the late 1990s, "as a new model for creating international success in American Nordic skiing," according to the Center's about page.The APU Nordic Ski Center is a regional Olympic training center for cross-country skiers. APU's program listing details the Nordic Ski Center's programs have developed elite skiers in the country, some of which have become Olympians and national medalists. The Nordic Ski Center has a unique blend of educational opportunity and first-class coaching, drawing student athletes to Alaska Pacific University from all over the country. Skiers in the program can train on snow from November to August, longer than anywhere else in the country due to the Thomas Training Center on Eagle Glacier.
Associated Students of Alaska Pacific University (ASAPU) is the elected body for student government. ASAPU members represent student interests and oversee student clubs and organizations. ASAPU is the students' “voice” on campus and many students are involved. The positions include: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasure, Senior representative, Junior representative, Sophomore representative, Freshman representative, Graduate representative, Degree Completion representative, Early Honors representative, and the Non-Traditional representative. Examples of some clubs that ASAPU oversees and that are available on campus are: Campus Ministry, The Drama Club, SPECTRUM ( a combination of Crossing Over Lines of Racial Segregation (COLORS) and Gay Straight Alliance (GSA)), Environmental Club (Eco Club), Basketball Club, Nordic Ski Club, Photo Club, the Journal, Recreational Programs, Outdoor Programs, and many others.
Residence Hall Council is the club/organization that students who live in the dorms can go to for movies, games or other recreation. The offices include: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasure, and representatives from each of the dorms. RHC works closely with the Residence Life office and in correlation with ASAPU.