UA President Mark Hamilton brings his message to the Kenai

Around Campus

Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2004

KPC is excited to host University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton's visit to the central and southern Kenai Peninsula on Tuesday and March 17. Hamilton will tour the campus and address the KPC faculty, staff and students on both the Soldotna and Homer campuses. He also will speak to the KPC College Council.

In addition to addressing the university-related groups, Hamilton's slate is full of engagements while he is on the peninsula.

On Tuesday, he will speak at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon and then will address the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly that evening.

Hamilton travels to the south peninsula March 17 and will be interviewed on KBBI-KDLL's "Coffee Table" radio show from 9 to 10 a.m. Hamilton will speak at the Homer Chamber of Commerce luncheon, interview with the Homer News and address the Homer High School junior class.

Hamilton was appointed by the University of Alaska Board of Regents as the 12th president of the University of Alaska on Aug. 10, 1998. The president oversees the operations of the University of Alaska system covering an area one-fifth the size of the contiguous United States.

Since accepting the presidency of the university, Hamilton has been appointed as commissioner of the Denali Commis-sion, chair of the board of directors of the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation; member of the board of directors of Alaska Air Group Inc.; member of the board of directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center; and chair of the Alaska Distance Education Technology Consortium. The Alaska Journal of Commerce has recognized Hamilton as one of the 25 Most Powerful Alaskans for the past five years.

Hamilton is a dynamic speaker who delivers his message with passion and conviction. He has a way of inspiring his audience with direct language, delivered in an eloquent style. The public is encouraged to hear President Hamilton's message at one of the many venues he will visit next week.

KPC history

KPC has 40 years of history that led to the fine institution it is today. But unless one actually lived through the journey, it is hard to appreciate what it took to establish the college in the pioneer days of the 1960s on the Kenai Peninsula.

Who best to describe the reality of the genesis of the campus than its founding director, Clayton Brockel. Here is Brockel's detailed recollection of how Seward, AVTEC and the KPC Resur-rection Bay Extension site all relate to one another in his own words, titled, "The College That Wasn't: A Story ."

"During its early years, Kenai Peninsula Community College (KPCC) had not yet established an image as a branch of the University of Alaska (UA) on the Kenai Peninsula. It had been incorporated as a college operating under the auspices of UA, in cooperation with the Kenai City School District (1964), and later in cooperation with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) in 1965.

"During those same beginning years, KPCC was selected to administer a 16-week instructional program in heavy equipment maintenance and operation in the city of Seward for Alaska Native students. The funding for the instructional program came from the Federal Manpower Development and Training Act (MDTA).

"It was channeled through the Division of Vocational Education, Department of Education, Juneau, the division that was responsible for selecting the program's students, in cooperation with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program (RurAL Cap), located in Anchorage.

"Clayton Brockel, director of KPCC, and Walter E. Ward, assistant superintendent of KPBSD, started assessing possible sites for the training program. They finally found a metal building near a Seward dock on Resurrection Bay. The building was owned by the city of Seward.

"The city manager of Seward advised Director Brockel that the city, recovering from the devastating earthquake and tidal wave of 1964, was welcoming reconstruction and development proposals, and that the city was negotiating with the University of Alaska, who wished to establish a marine science center in Seward. The center was interested in the same building, and the city did not wish to jeopardize that potential. Furthermore, the city manager had limited knowledge of a "branch" of the University of Alaska existing on the peninsula.

"Brockel then flew to Fairbanks, where he consulted with the head of Institute of Marine Science (IMS) on the Fairbanks campus. He was advised that the institute would not be utilizing the Seward building for at least another year. The marine science department administrator contacted the city manager of Seward, recommending that the Seward building be contracted to KPCC, a branch of the University of Alaska. Ernest Presher, superintendent of KPBSD, then transferred Don Gilman, principal of Seward High School, to KPCC to act as the on-site director of the Federal Manpower Development and Training (MDTA) Program.

"The MDTA Program was successfully completed. Lou Ridle, director of the Division of Vocational Education, State Department of Education, was pleased with the results and with the Seward location, and continued to offer programs in coordination with KPCC in the areas of Seward and Kenai. These programs eventually developed into the present Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) in Seward.

"The MDTA waterfront site was later developed as part of the Institute of Marine Science Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The university also stationed a research vessel, the R/V Alpha Helix, near the site.

"Kenai Peninsula College continues to offer classes in Seward at its Resurrec-tion Bay Extension Site. An on-site coordinator, Jackie Marshall, assists KPC Director Gary Turner in expanding post-secondary education on the eastern Kenai Peninsula.

The college that wasn't now is ... and will continue to be.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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