Our roots: Alaska Methodist University
Alaska Methodist University (AMU) offered its first classes in 1960.
Peter Gordon Gould was an Unangax from the village of Unga in the Aleutian Islands. His mother encouraged Gould to leave home in order to receive a quality education and return with strengthened leadership skills to help his people.
He left Unga to attend the Jesse Lee Home for Children in Unalaska, attended Seminary school, received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse and became the first Alaska Native minister in the United Methodist Church.
Gould recognized a strong need “for indigenous leadership reared, educated and trained in Alaska for Alaska.” He was a pivotal member of a successful fundraising effort for the first private liberal arts college in Alaska.
AMU to APU
AMU was renamed in 1978 to Alaska Pacific University but remains a Methodist-affiliated institution. It retains its commitment to its heritage of Alaska Native education while emphasizing rigorous academics and challenging field work in the arts and sciences.
Community Support Built Alaska’s Private University
Our past is rich with momentous triumphs and colorful milestones.
Pious, soulful and diverse; croquet and cheerleading to Frisbee golf and world-class cross country ski teams; Early Honors high school seniors to a doctorate program, our historical evolution is robust. Here are some highlights:
In 1956 signs were put in place with the permission of the territorial police marking the college site for promotional purposes.
Dr. Donald F. Ebright of Chicago, Illinois was elected as the first President of the University April 1958.
The Grant Hall cornerstone laying ceremony was held on Sunday, July 12, 1959.
A 30-meter ski hill and Paul Crews Jump was built in 1967 on a hill with a vertical 80° slope.
In June of 1973 V. Louise Kellogg created the Dewolf-Kellogg Trust, setting aside 900 acres for the use of the newly established Alaska Pacific University. She wanted a place for students to come and be with nature.
In 1980 APU cosponsored student Clarence Shockley in the Iditarod sled dog race to Nome and he practiced with his dogs on the APU trail system.