1921-1949 Charles Bunnell

Fitting Tribute to a Great Alaskan, An Editorial
History of Charles Bunnell.
History of 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

Bunnell Building

Bunnell House

Bunnell Statue

Charles E. Bunnell is also mentioned in these articles:

From College to University

CES Outreach Began in Matanuska Valley

UA's Second President, Dr. Terris Moore

Why was the University of Alaska originally located in Fairbanks?

William R. Cashen

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

Lola Tilly

The Judge and the Murderer

Wood Presidency Draws to a Close

President Bunnell's Hiring Processes

Otto W. Geist: A Legend in his Own Lifetime, Part 2

Dr. Lydia Fohn-Hansen

Geophysical Institute's History Part 1, 2, 3

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library

Flora Jane Harper

In the Beginning, Part 4

Ivar Skarland

Skarland Trails

Dorothy Loftus

Regent: Walter T. Stuart

Regent: Morton Stevens

Signers' Hall History

Ben Atkinson

Eva McGown

UA's First Eskimo Graduate, Arthur Nagozruk Jr.

Regent: George Lingo

Carl "Ben" Eielson

Kathryn "Kay" Stanton Patty

First Registration at College

Regent: Thomas Marquam

Regent: Helen Atkinson

President Harding Visits the New Alaska College in 1923

Secretary recalls frontier college

Skarland Hall Dedication

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