Around Campus: Kenai Peninsula College growth continues

Posted: Monday, January 17, 2011

In last week's column, it was incorrectly reported that the current semester's enrollment was KPC's thirteenth record breaking semester; it is the ninth consecutive record semester. As of the first day of classes, KPC had 14,009 credit hours, which is the first time the college broke the 14,000 mark. Last fall the college broke 13,000 credit hours for the first time. It is projected that by the end of this semester, KPC will tally about 14,400 credits and almost 2,500 students.

Civil Rights Day observed

All University of Alaska locations, including KPC campuses and extension sites, will be closed on Jan. 17 in observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., officially recognized in Alaska as Civil Rights Day.

Last week at the Kenai River Campus, Dr. King's birthday was commemorated by serving birthday cake in the commons and displaying King's "I Have a Dream" speech on the monitors around campus.

At the Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer, the Student Association, in partnership with the UAA Diversity Action Council, will host UAF Professor of History Dr. Terrence Cole who will discuss, "The Far North against the Deep South: Alaska's Role in the Civil Rights Movement in America." The discussion, and a related book signing, will take place at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Kachemak Bay Campus on Pioneer Ave. and the public is invited to the free event.

Dr. Cole will discuss Alaska's unique role in the national civil rights struggle and his new book on the civil rights issues that surrounded Alaska's struggle for statehood. Because the Territory of Alaska passed the first comprehensive civil rights law in the world in 1945, southern powerbrokers on Capitol Hill vowed to stop Alaska Statehood. Alaska prevailed and entered the Union in 1959 and statehood set in motion the passage of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971. ANILCA was the final piece of the three landmark rulings in the on-going fight to form a more perfect union.

The KPC Showcase presents a historical look at Soapy Smith in Hope

Many people know of the exploits of Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith: how he took over the town of Skagway at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush with his gang of confidence men, and then was killed in a shootout on the wharf. KPC Assistant Professor of History and author of "King Con: The Story of Soapy Smith," Dr. Jane Haigh, will present her research on Soapy Smith's life and exploits at 7 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Kenai River Campus in the McLane commons.

Dr. Haigh made the same presentation to 35 people at the historic Hope Social Hall this past summer, where she was able to verify that Smith looked over the gold rush town of Hope before settling in Skagway. The public is invited to hear the whole story at this free event.

Dr. Haigh was named historian of the year in 2007 by the Alaska Historical Society. Haigh also authored "The Search for Fannie Quigley: A Wilderness Life in the Shadow of Mount McKinley," "Gold Rush Women" and "Gold Rush Dogs." She also published two photo histories, "Denali Early Photographs" and "Alaska Highway: An Historic Photographic Journey."

For more information about Dr. Haigh's presentation, contact Dave Atcheson at 262-0346 or e-mail

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