APU’s journey toward becoming a tribal college

Current image from APU’s website.

APU is a small liberal arts and sciences college located in the U-Med District, just east of UAA and north of the Alaska Native Medical Center. It’s known for many things, including training Olympic-calibre skiers, public venues for concerts and community events, and an Early Honors program that allows high school students to finish their senior year on the college campus. It has a popular rock-climbing wall and saltwater swimming pool.

Alaska Methodist University, as it was first named, offered classes beginning in 1960. Founder Peter Gordon Gould, an Unangax from the village of Unga on the Aleutian Islands, left Alaska for an education and seminary school, and returned as the first Alaska Native minister in the Methodist Church. He was part of a persistent fundraising group to launch Alaska’s first liberal arts college.

In 1978, the institution was renamed Alaska Pacific University, and retains its commitment to Alaska Native education in a rigorous academic environment, according to its website.

Now, APU is on the path to becoming a tribal college. In 2016, APU formed a strategic partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, the largest tribal health organization in the country, and began exploring and executing steps toward becoming a tribal college.

On today’s show, we’ll get an update on progress, goals, milestones and impact. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. Join us!

HOST: Kathleen McCoy


  • Ethan Schutt, Chair of APU’s Board of Trustees
  • Joe Senungetuk, APU’s Elders Council member
  • Dr. Sharon Lind, Research Associate Professor Business and Indigenous Studies


  • Alaska Pacific University website
  • APU and ANTHC strategic partnership explained, 1pg PDF
  • The next tribal university? APU is taking steps to become a fully established TCU, Tribal College Journal of American Indian Higher Education website story
  • Alaska Pacific University plans to become a tribal college, ADN, 12.20.2016


  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752 (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
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  • LIVE: Monday, March 2, 2020 at 2:00 p.m
  • RE-AIR: Monday, March 2, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.