By Christy Hanson
APU website intern
A self-proclaimed “small-town guy,” Bobby Dunno of Seward credits APU for helping adult undergraduates like him feel right at home.
“It has to be the family-type atmosphere. Even in online classes, I’ve developed personal relationships with several students,” said Dunno, a diesel technology instructor at Seward-based Alaska Vocation and Technical Center.
Dunno, 53, began his college education in 2006 when his supervisor found an APU course that seemed like a good fit. Dunno enrolled.
“The rest,” he says, “is history.”
After completing his first class, Dunno found that e-learning at APU was a perfect fit for his schedule. He stayed on at APU to earn an AA in Career and Technical Education in 2009 and then continued at APU to complete his BA in Business Administration and Management in 2012.
In addition to a sense of accomplishment, higher education rewarded Dunno with increased income. A Chief Petty Officer who retired after 22 years in the Coast Guard, Dunno says he’s encountered other veterans who leave the service with a skilled trade but no credentials to help advance in civilian employment.
Dunno said he benefitted from APU’s family atmosphere in 2007 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Support from his wife, Debbie, and Associate Professor Esther Beth Sullivan, Associate Professor Carole Lund and Assistant Professor Beverly Dennis helped Dunno stay in school while undergoing chemotherapy.
“Some of my best papers were written at that time,” he recalls.
Cancer-free today, Dunno teaches diesel engine maintenance and rebuilding at AVTEC and rides motorcycles with a mission as director and historian of the Seward-area American Legion Riders.
“I enjoyed all of it,” Dunno said of his APU education. “It was a definite positive effect on my lifestyle and outlook.”
Bio: Christy Hanson is a 2012 graduate of New Mexico State University-Main Campus and an APU summer intern with Anchorage-based First Alaskans Institute.