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UAA timeline

The University of Alaska Anchorage timeline: 1950-2004, authored by Dr. William A. Jacobs.


University of Alaska Anchorage


1950 The population of Anchorage is 30,060


1950 Dr. Terris Moore, president of the University of Alaska (UA), and Regents Elmer Rasmuson and Earl Albrecht worked to expand the University from Fairbanks campus by bringing courses to military bases and developing community colleges in partnership with local school districts.


1950 University of Alaska begins offering courses on Southcentral military bases.
1953 Territorial Community College Act establishes a framework for cooperation between school districts and the University of Alaska.
1954 The first community colleges are formed at Anchorage and Ketchikan.
1954 Anchorage Community College (ACC), a joint venture of the Anchorage Independent School District and the University of Alaska, opens the second floor of what is now West High School. It offers primarily academic and business related courses. 385 students enrolled in the first semester. LeVake Renshaw, local consulting engineer, was the first student to enroll, and went on to earn a degree from UAF.
1954 Dr. LeRoy Good named the first ACC Director.
1956 First graduation from ACC. One graduate, Vincent Earl Demarest, receives an Associate of Arts Degree in Business Administration
1957 Melvin Huden named ACC Director
1958 Palmer Community College founded


1958 Founding of the first student newspaper, the “Campus Courier”.


1959 Alaska enters the Union as the 49th state.


1959 Eugene Short named ACC chief executive officer.


1960 The population of Anchorage is 82,833
1960 William R. Wood named University of Alaska president. He played a strong role in the expansion of UA into Anchorage.
1961 UA offers graduate courses in Anchorage leading to Masters in Education and Masters of Science in Engineering degrees – the first graduate programs in Southcentral Alaska.


1961 The Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) opens as the first public policy research center in Alaska.
1962 Alaska legislature incorporates the state’s community colleges into the University of Alaska higher education system
1964 Kenai Peninsula Community College founded
1964 Palmer Community College renamed Matanuska-Susitna Community College


1964 Good Friday earthquake rocks Southcentral Alaska
1966 The Anchorage Regional Center (ARC) is established to consolidate public higher education programs in the Anchorage area, including ACC and courses offered at local military bases.
1966 Dr. Donald DaFoe, formerly superintendent of schools in Anchorage, named first provost of the ARC.
1968 Kodiak Community College founded
1968 Anchorage Regional Center expands to become Southcentral Regional Center administering community colleges, military education, upper division and graduate programs for the entire region. This institution foreshadowed the current structure of UAA.
1968 Construction begins near Goose Lake on the outskirts of Anchorage for a permanent campus for ACC.
1969 Dr. Lewis Haines named provost of Southcentral Regional Center.


1969-71 Formation of Anchorage Higher Education Consortium between Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) and UA, allowing for ease of transfer credit and sharing of library resources.


1970 The population of Anchorage is 126,385
1970 ACC dedicates its present campus on Providence Ave. and moves from West High School into the five new buildings later named in honor of Eugene Short, Beatrice McDonald, Lucy Cuddy, Gordon Hartlieb and Sally Monserud.


1970 University of Alaska, Anchorage is formed in November, composed of ACC and upper division and graduate courses and programs.

1971 The Anchorage Senior College is created from existing upper-division and graduate courses and programs.
1971 First joint (ACC and Senior College) commencement ceremony at West High School. A total of 265 Masters, baccalaureate, and associates degrees and certificates are awarded.

1972 Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies is created to address the social, physical, and psychological concerns of alcoholism.


1972 ACC independently accredited as Anchorage Community College


1972 Construction begins on Consortium Library to be shared by Alaska Methodist University and the UA,A
1973 University enters into first collective bargaining agreement with Local 2404, Alaska Community College Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
1973 Building K (now professional Studies Building) and Building J (now the Auto/Diesel Technology Building) open on West Campus


1973 Consortium Library opens


1974 ACCFT faculty declare a (brief) strike for increased compensation

1974 Senior College Building (now Social Sciences Building) opens
1975 University of Alaska, Anchorage receives accreditation from Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
1975 UA,A Performing Arts Center (now Wendy Williamson Auditorium) sees its first performance
1976 The Justice Center is created to provide research and instruction in justice and crime issues in Alaska.
1976 Dr. William Stewart named ACC Campus President
1976 Provost position at UA,A replaced with a chancellor — chief administrative officer and academic leader in charge of all university activities, research and academics.

Dr. Wendell Wolfe named Acting UA,A Chancellor


1976 Dr. John Lindauer named first chancellor of UA,A
1977 Science Building opens
1977 Formation of the Community Colleges and Rural Education Extension (CCREE), a statewide organization devoted to the community college mission. ACC is separated from UA,A and included in CCREE as its largest unit. UA,A is composed of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Justice Center, and the Schools of Education, Engineering, Nursing, Business, and Public Administration.
1978 First higher education classes offered in Eagle River
1978 Wendell W. Wolfe, named acting UA,A Chancellor
1978 First Great Alaska Shootout is held in the Buckner Fieldhouse on Fort Richardson
1978 Dr. Frank Harrison named Chancellor at UA,A


1978 Prince William Sound Community College established in Valdez.
1978 Campus Center complex (including the Student Union and Wells Fargo Sports Center) opens
1979 Dr. Edward Biggerstaff named ACC Campus President


1979 North Slope oil money begins to flow into Alaska’s treasury, allowing for expansion of higher education opportunities across the state.


1979 Mining and Petroleum Training Services (MAPTS) is created in Kenai to meet the training needs of Alaskan resource development industries


1980 The population of Anchorage is 174,431
1981 The Engineering Building opens
1981 ACC’s Adult Education Center and Merrill Field Aviation Complex (now the Aviation Technology Center) open
1981 Dr. David Outcalt named UA,A chancellor
1981 Dr. Ronald Smith named Acting ACC Campus President


1982 ACC becomes a separate college with its own Chancellor, independent of Community Colleges and Rural Education Extension (CCREE)


1982 Dr. Edward Biggerstaff named ACC Chancellor
1983 Allied Health Sciences Building opens
1983 UA,A Administration Building open
1984 Dr. Herbert Lyon named ACC Chancellor
1986 First student apartments constructed on the campus open


1986 UA,A Fine Arts Building opens
1986 UA,A campus radio station KRUA begins broadcasting
1986 Dr. Clark Ahlberg named interim UA,A chancellor
1986 UA president Dr. Donald O’Dowd announces plans for reorganization of the entire university system in response to a 15 per cent cut in statewide university funding.
1987 Based on a state fiscal crisis, ACC, elements of CCREE, and UA,A are merged to become UAA – one of three separately accredited regional universities in the UA system.
1987 Prince William Sound Community College becomes the only community college in the statewide system.
1987 Dr. Marvin Looney named UAA Chancellor
1988 Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies created to develop new solutions to health problems in Alaska and circumpolar north.
1988 Dr. Donald O’Dowd named University of Alaska president and interim Chancellor of UAA.
1989 Dr. Donald Behrend named UAA chancellor
1990 The population of Anchorage is 226,338
1990 UAA awards 1080 certificates and associates, baccalaureate, and Masters degrees.
1992 UAA students staged a “sleep-in” to protest proposed cost increases (raising tuition to $58/credit hour) and loss of classes


1992 University space crunch temporarily relieved with purchase of Diplomacy Building at Tudor Center
1992 UAA awards 61 per cent of all degrees in the UA system
1992 Business Education Building opens


1993 The first Edward Albee Last Frontier Theater Conference is held in Valdez.


1993 The American-Russian Center is created to train businessmen and government leaders in the Russian Far East.
1994 UAA Minority Student Services becomes AHAINA (African American, Hispanic, Asian, International and Native American)
1994 Edward Lee Gorsuch named UAA Chancellor
1995 The state-of-the-art expansion of the Aviation Technology Center opens at Merrill Field.
1998 Three four-story residence halls and the Commons opens
1998 University Honors Program created


1999 Global Logistics program opens, funded by a partnership with the Municipality of Anchorage, private industry, and UAA.
2000 The population of Anchorage is 260,283
2002 Enrollment & Financial Services and units of the Community and Technical College occupy a newly remodeled University Center space, revitalizing a dying mall in the heart of Anchorage.


2003 Expansion of the School of Nursing, funded by a partnership with the largest health care providers in Alaska, will double the number of Nursing graduates.

2004 Dedication of the Library of the 21st Century, a major addition and transformation of the Consortium Library.
2004 Environmental and Biomedical Laboratory Building opens
2004 Dr. Elaine Maimon named UAA Chancellor


2004 UAA celebrates its 50th Anniversary.



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