1921-1949 Charles Bunnell
Future history undoubtedly will record that completion of the beautiful new Bunnell
building on the University of Alaska campus marks one of the most significant forward
steps in the growth of the university. This new building, with facilities and architectural
aspects as fine as any university structure in the country, is a fitting tribute to
a man rightfully known as "the father of the university," Dr. Charles E. Bunnell.
In 1921, Dr. Bunnell was named president of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, the name by which our university was then known. When school opened on Sept. 18, 1922, there were a total of six students. Today enrollment is close to the 1,000 mark and continuing to grow.
Dr. Bunnell was a man of vision who backed his dreams of building a great university in Alaska with faith and hard work. He came to Alaska in 1900 as a teacher after graduating summa cum laude and earning his masters degree in law from Bucknell University.
He later passed the Alaska bar and became a practicing attorney in Valdez. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him U.S. District Judge of the Fourth Division. At 37, he was the youngest man ever to be appointed to such a high judicial position in Alaska.
Dr. Bunnell held the position of president of the University from 1921 until 1949, when he resigned to become president emeritus. Dr. Bunnell's motto was "courage and fidelity." He worked courageously to build the university against a multitude of obstacles which beset him in those early days. He was dedicated to this task and faithful to his objectives as long as he lived. Shortly after his retirement, he told a friend: "There were many rough times -but I wouldn't have changed anything, even if I could have. It has been a rich and challenging life for me."
Dr. Bunnell took a keen interest in the welfare of university students and followed with interest their destinies beyond school, in their chosen fields and careers. To all university students he was known as a friend and councillor, a man of humanity, kindness and wisdom. He died in 1957. In the magnificent new Bunnell Memorial Building, the name, memory and works of Dr. Charles E. Bunnell will be kept alive. There could be no finer monument to a great Alaskan.
Terris Moore succeeded Dr. Bunnell in 1949.
UAF Sites named after Charles E. Bunnell
Charles E. Bunnell is also mentioned in these articles:
CES Outreach Began in Matanuska Valley
UA's Second President, Dr. Terris Moore
Why was the University of Alaska originally located in Fairbanks?
Regent: Grace Berg Schaible
How Old is the University of Alaska?
The University of Alaska Alumni Association, 1923-1939
UA's First Graduate, John Shanly
History of the Presidents' Residence
Wood Presidency Draws to a Close
President Bunnell's Hiring Processes
Otto W. Geist: A Legend in his Own Lifetime, Part 2
Geophysical Institute's History Part 1, 2, 3
In the Beginning, Part 4
Regent: Walter T. Stuart
Regent: Morton Stevens
UA's First Eskimo Graduate, Arthur Nagozruk Jr.
Regent: George Lingo
Regent: Thomas Marquam
Regent: Helen Atkinson
President Harding Visits the New Alaska College in 1923
Secretary recalls frontier college
Building the First Power Plant
The First Years at College, Part 1, 2
University of Alaska established Scholarships & Funds:
UA Statewide Scholarship: Charles E. Bunnell Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship was established to further honor Dr. Charles E. Bunnell, founding president of the University of Alaska, to acknowledge the tremendous effort he made in organizing the University and keeping it alive; as well as the personal financial help he gave so many students during his presidency from 1920-1949.
UA Fairbanks Scholarship: Charles E. Bunnell Mining Scholarship
This scholarship was established through a gift of mining claims by Jean Bunnell Kennedy in memory of her father, Charles E. Bunnell, the first president of the University of Alaska.
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, May 21, 1960