KBC director being honored for ‘meritorious service’

Among those being recognized at commencement ceremonies for Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, is Campus Director Carol Swartz. Honoring her 27 years of commitment and service to the university and to the community of Homer, Swartz will be presented with the 2013 UA-UAA Meritorious Service Award by Patricia Jacobson, chair of the University Board of Regents, UAA Chancellor Thomas Case and KPC Director Gary Turner.

Notified in February she has been selected for the award, Swartz, KBC’s campus director since 1986, said she was surprised and found it a “huge honor.” Asked about her many achievements at KBC, Swartz was quick to point out the achievements represented group efforts.

“They are all collectives ones,” she said.

Those words echoed Swartz’s response last year when she was presented by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell with the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities. That award recognized Swartz as the founding director of Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference, “the premiere yearly event for Alaska’s literary community” that began in 2002. 

“Anything I’ve done, I didn’t do alone. It’s a collective award,” Swartz said at the time when interviewed by the Homer News, noting that the honor extended to the college and community for years of contributions to the arts and humanities.

That joint effort has allowed Swartz to create and develop the essential infrastructure and foundation for a “higher and vocation educational, cultural and community-lifelong learning center,” she said. She has focused on increasing opportunities to meet individual goals “to enhance quality and meaning of lives,” she said, listing GED, welding certification, nursing, teaching, biology, art, writing, starting businesses and raising families. Swartz has worked to develop education as an economic development industry, while emphasizing the “importance of arts and humanities in our lives.”

Looking toward the future, Swartz said her plans for the campus include promoting and building a new marine biology, CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) technology and fisheries technology programs, as well as summer institutes and conferences. In addition, she plans to “encourage (the) private sector to create student-housing opportunities and work towards the UA and KPC capital master plan for a Career and Technology Education Center to support expanded marine, technology, construction and welding training.”

Earlier this year, Swartz also was recognized with a citation from the 28th Alaska Legislature. 

“She and her dedicated staff are well-deserving of such prestigious recognition,” said the citation, specifically noting the Meritorious Service Award and the Governor’s Award for Distinguished Service to the Humanities. “Under her 26 years of leadership, the Kachemak Bay Campus has seen unprecedented growth and diversification; she has worked tirelessly to meet the education needs of Homer and the surrounding area. The campus now offers a broad range of courses, from technical and science focused curriculum to stellar classes in the humanities, along with GED, certificate and degree programs.”

Other honors received by Swartz include Homer Council on the Arts 2012 Arts Education award, a 2009 Homer Woman of Distinction Award and a 2009 Contributions to Literacy in Alaska Award from the Alaska Center for the Book.

Kachemak Bay Campus serves more than 800 students and offers a wide range of degree and continuing education courses and programs. In 2010, the campus expanded with the construction of the $2.5 million Bayside Building. It joined the Pioneer Building on the three-acre campus at the corner of Pioneer Avenue and Heath Street. 

KBC is one of several campuses of Kenai Peninsula College. Other campuses include the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna, Resurrection Bay Extension Site in Seward and the Anchorage Extension Site at the University Center in Anchorage.

Nominations for the university’s meritorious service award are made annually and reviewed by a committee comprised of UAA faculty, staff and Anchorage community members. Names of proposed candidates are forwarded to Case, UA President Pat Gamble and the Board of Regents for their review, consideration and approval. Also receiving this year’s award are Pat Wolf and Jane Angvik.

In 1974, Wolf became the curator of education at the Anchorage Museum and, in 1987, the museum’s director and chief executive officer. The relationship she developed with the Smithsonian resulted in the first regional office of the National Museum of Natural History Arctic Studies Center housed at the Anchorage Museum’s Rasmuson Center. Wolf retired from the museum in 2007.

Angvik served on the Anchorage Municipal Assembly, the Anchorage Charter Commission and was been a candidate for the office of lieutenant governor and House of Representatives. She worked as the director of the Alaska Division of Land and commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development; served as president of the Alaska Native Foundation, general manager of the Alaska Native Heritage Center and executive director of Alaska 20/20 for the Alaska Humanities Forum; and is on the board of directors of the Rape Crisis Center-STAR, the Anchorage Women’s Shelter-AWAIC, Public Radio-KSKA, the Alaska Conservation Voters and the Alaska Political Women’s Caucus.  

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.