Kenai Peninsula College will be busy this summer with 21 classes on the schedule that include a Dena'ina language institute, an arts institute for both adults and youth, and four sessions of the Kenai Fishing Academy. Registration is available to the public via the KPC Web site at www.kpc.alaska.edu or from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily in the KPC Bookstore.
Students are reminded to visit the Web site regularly to check the status of a class they have signed up for. Depending on enrollment, or a number of other extenuating circumstances, a class may have modified times or locations, or in some cases the class may have to be canceled if the minimum enrollment doesn't materialize. For student convenience, these changes are updated on the Web site regularly.
The fall semester schedule also now is available online for students and the public to begin planning for the first day of classes Aug. 30.
There will be a special advising and registration period for continuing KPC degree-seeking students from 2 to 7 p.m. April 21 and 22. Faculty advisers and the counseling staff will be available to help these continuing students be sure they are on-track for their certificate or degree. It is important that these continuing students get into classes that are required in order to complete their programs.
Registration for the fall semester for the general public will be available online Aug. 16, with walk-in registration set for Aug. 26 and 27.
Coming a long way
Plans are under way for the KPC class of 2004 commencement exercises. The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. May 4 at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School. The keynote speaker this year will be KPC's first director, Clayton Brockel, who will recall what the early days at KPC were like.
This being KPC's 40th anniversary, KPC volunteer press corps member Victoria Steik recently interviewed the "first" KPC graduate and here is the story, in her own words:
The University of Alaska officially approved the creation of the Kenai Peninsula College in July 1964. Seven years later, in 1971, the college awarded its first associate of arts degree to Jack Hummel. The degree was awarded at Kenai Central High School since the college was still without a permanent home.
Hummel, who now spends summers in Soldotna and winters in Green Valley, Ariz., recalled his days at KPC: "The college was small when I attended during the 1960s."
He took classes in English, social studies, psychology and history. Since Jack was working during the day, he enrolled in evening classes, usually at Kenai High School. The classes "helped me in my capacities as a supervisor with the FAA air traffic system."
Hummel was the FAA flight facility chief in Kenai for seven years and went on to be an air traffic control specialist in Anchorage with the Air Traffic Division of the FFA.
"I was very pleased and felt fortunate to have been able to pick up additional college level training and at the same time be able to perform my duties with the FAA in Kenai and Anchorage," Hummel said.
"I have been back to the campus several times and am amazed at the progress since I graduated in 1971 with an associate of arts degree. I hope the college continues to grow, as it certainly is a vital and important part of the Kenai Peninsula's future," he said.
Hummel and his wife, Kathy, are pleased with the educational opportunities available through the University of Alaska system. All three of their daughters have attended university facilities. Two graduated from UAA. Karen Hummel is a social worker in Kenai, and Judy Hummel is a nurse at Central Peninsula General Hospital. Janis Hummel, who is a teacher in Tacoma, Wash., graduated from UAF.
When asked what improvements he would like to see at KPC in the future, Jack Hummel replied, "With the growth and economic future of the Kenai Peninsula, it would be very productive for the area if more opportunities were available for local students to receive a complete four-year degree without having to leave the area."
Hummel represents the type of student who is at the core of the College's success over the past 40 years.
According to "The Kenai Peninsula College History: the First 30 Years," published by the college in 1992, "The largest student body resource, however, was the adult community. ... The people of the Kenai Peninsula were curious, investigative, speculative ... . They were eager to learn almost anything, from flying airplanes to world literature to accounting. And they signed up for classes not because they wanted a degree, or more credits, or a job skill, but because they were interested in the topic. The student population has been older than the norm for college students in the United States. They had raised families, homesteaded, run commercial fishing businesses, sailed the seven seas, climbed mountains they were a fascinating lot. ... They took classes they found interesting."
Thousands of "nontraditional" students like Jack Hummel have availed themselves of the variety of educational opportunities offered by KPC over the past 40 years. Subsequent articles in this series will detail more about the faculty, staff, students and community members who helped to create the fully accredited, efficient and well attended college we know today.
This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.
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