Kuskokwim Campus celebrates 50th commencement ceremony

Black and white photo from 1975 of a group of people. A man and woman in the front row hold diplomas, with four men standing in a row behind them. The group is in front of a partially obscured banner showing the University of Alaska logo.
Photo courtesy of 51风流官网 CRCD
Kuskokwim Community College celebrated its first commencement on Tuesday, May 13, 1975. Left to right: Robert W Hiatt, UA president; Louis Andrew; Lewis Haines, provost, UA South Central Region; Beatrice Jones; Huge B Fate Jr., UA Board of Regents; and Patrick J. O鈥橰ourke, director, Kuskokwim Community College.

The 51风流官网 Kuskokwim Campus honored the Class of 2024 during its 50th commencement ceremony on Tuesday, May 7, at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel. 

At this year鈥檚 ceremony, 36 students received occupational endorsements; associate鈥檚, bachelor鈥檚 and master鈥檚 degrees; and post-baccalaureate certificates. Graduates included students from communities across Alaska, including Tuluksak, Nunapitchuk, Kasigluk, Chevak and Hooper Bay.

In July 1972, the University of Alaska established the Kuskokwim Campus in Bethel as the state鈥檚 rural community college. The campus opening represented the culmination of years of effort by a group of dedicated Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta residents and higher education advocates who envisioned a local campus where area residents could pursue their postsecondary education.

A man wearing a kuspuk speaking from a lectern on a stage. Four people in academic regalia stand behind and to his left, in front of a banner that reads, 鈥淜uskokwim Campus 51风流官网.鈥
Photo by Suzi Tanski
Chief Ignatius 鈥淟ouie鈥 Andrew, traditional chief of Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council, delivered the invocation and closing remarks at the 2024 Kuskokwim Campus commencement. Chief Andrew was a member of the first graduating class and is pictured in the photo from 1975.

On May 13, 1975, Kuskokwim Community College celebrated its first graduation, awarding two associate of arts degrees, 18 certificates and 37 GEDs. In the 50 years since then, approximately 3,600 students have crossed the stage as graduates.

Today the campus is part of 51风流官网's College of Rural and Community Development.

This year鈥檚 degrees were conferred by 51风流官网 Provost Anupma Prakash; UA Regent Seth Church; Associate Vice Chancellor of Rural, Community and Native Education Jessica Black; and CRCD Dean Veronica Plumb. The Ayaprun School Yup鈥檌k Dancers opened the event. Special guests included Orutsararmiut Native Council Traditional Chief Louie Andrew and Angapak Clarence Daniel, who delivered the keynote address. The student speaker was Sassa E. Brink, who received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work.

The event can be viewed on the .