Mission Statement of Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Pacific University is an intentionally small, private, independent university devoted to innovative teaching and learning, where students receive personal attention in small classes and acquire leadership capabilities, moral character, and self-direction through active learning. To achieve these educational goals Alaska Pacific University:
- Nurtures spiritual and moral values consistent with the university’s Christian heritage while respecting the religious convictions of all.
- Emphasizes personal growth through student-centered, experiential education using Alaska, the Arctic, and the Pacific Rim as laboratories for learning;
- Develops leadership for active service to society by encouraging openness to positive change, environmental awareness, innovation, and individual initiative;
- Promotes international and multicultural education while welcoming learners of all ages: from Alaska, with a special commitment to Alaska Natives; from other states of the United States; and from the international community;
- Maintains academic excellence by combining the breadth, integrative understanding, and critical thinking of the liberal arts with practice and focused knowledge for professional careers.
(Adopted February 19, 2009)
A Brief History of Alaska Pacific University
Alaska Pacific University, chartered as Alaska Methodist University by the Territory of Alaska in 1957, dedicated its campus on June 28, 1959, one day prior to Alaska achieving statehood. When the first students enrolled in classes beginning October 1, 1960, campus facilities consisted of Grant Hall, the academic and student center; and Gould Hall, the student residence. As enrollments and programs grew significantly, a student center, apartment, and residence hall complex was constructed. This complex was later named Atwood Center. After a 1977 reorganization, academic programs were restructured, and in November 1978 Alaska Methodist University was renamed Alaska Pacific University to better reflect its educational mission and geographical location. The Ruth and Homer Moseley sports center was added to campus facilities in 1986, the Carr Gottstein Academic Center in 1992, and the Segelhorst Residence Hall was opened in 2007. Given in trust by former trustee and dairy farmer Louise Kellogg, the Spring Creek farm at the Kellogg Campus, located in Palmer, AK, is being developed as an environmental learning center and has been used to support APU programs since 2001.
Alaska Pacific University stands on the shoulders of its predecessor, Alaska Methodist University, one of the most recent of the more than 1200 United Methodist educational institutions founded in America over the last 200 years. An emphasis on higher education has been vital to the denomination since its founding by John Wesley in the eighteenth century. Today 128 United Methodist-related schools and colleges exist in the United States. Alaska Pacific University continues to maintain affiliate membership among these universities, while remaining independent.
The mission of Methodism through its founding of these institutions of higher learning has been to integrate faith and learning along with knowledge and service so that the whole person and the world might be transformed into a higher order of justice and love. Accordingly, Methodist-related schools have always played a critical role in promoting human rights and educational opportunities for all persons.
Although the university is firmly rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of United Methodism, it espouses no narrow sectarian or doctrinal creed and indeed welcomes in its community of learners and teachers all who wish to engage in the search for truth. While faithful to its tradition, APU celebrates diversity and pluralism. In 1991, the university established the Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Theology through an endowment from the Catholic Archdiocese. The Newman Chair is a significant example of the university’s ecumenism.
Further, the university promotes the dignity of work and living through love and respect for others. In this context, any labor performed in the service of caring for God’s world and advancing the well-being of the human family is considered a sacred calling.
The educational community that we seek to create should contribute to all aspects of growth — intellectual, social, emotional, and physical — resulting in a whole person who is educated for the whole world and for all of life. This environment exists to enable all individuals to become the most that they can and were meant to be. The community spirit exists not only in classrooms and residence halls, but in offices and board rooms as well.
Our mission, in addition, is to care creatively about the world and its future. Moreover, we are here for the world, to help solve the world’s overwhelming problems and to join in the task of building a more just and humane society. Students, faculty, and staff alike are engaged in applying values learned from the past in new ways to the continuing challenges facing humankind.
These principles we believe and affirm and, we hope, live. As the values inherited from our Judeo-Christian tradition infuse all that we do at Alaska Pacific University, we are proud to offer special opportunities for learning, service, faith, and community building.