An increase in spring enrollment numbers has given the University of Alaska Southeast another reason to celebrate its 50th year.
"As of Friday we were up a little bit over 10 percent in the head count from last spring," UAS spokesman Kevin Myers said.
University officials expected about 2,100 students to begin classes Tuesday, about 200 more than last year, Myers said.
"I think that a lot of the national advertising that we're doing is paying off and a lot of the recruiting efforts are also paying off," he said.
The university has been advertising in national publications, such as Outdoor Magazine, as well as sending recruiters to high schools, junior colleges, career fairs and college fairs around the Pacific Northwest. Myers said the majority of the enrollment increase seems to be made up of students from out of state, although the official numbers have not been calculated.
"We've been offering more programs than we ever have," he said. "And I think it's not just the marketing and recruiting - there's something to market and recruit."
Myers said the location also seems to be a major draw for students, especially those interested in studying marine biology and environmental science. He said the university is also seeing an increase in business students.
Some students lined up to register for classes Tuesday, others stood in line for books, while others tucked away in corners of the university working on homework assignments.
Kathryne Rhode, 21, spent the holiday break back home in Minnesota and said she is ready for the start of her final semester before graduation.
"I'm happy to be back, away from the drama of family life and back in Alaska," she said.
Rhode said the recent growth of UAS facilities and student population is both good and bad.
"In some aspects I like it, in others I don't," she said. "I don't really care for the fact that all of our fees went up."
The university kicked off its year-long 50th anniversary celebration on Saturday with the annual Tuxedo Junction black-tie formal. A number of celebrations will be held throughout the year to commemorate the institution's roots, which began with the founding of the Juneau-Douglas Community College by director Dorothy H. Novatney in 1956.
"Throughout this academic year we are trying to pay attention to how far we've come, our strategic mission and the directions we hope to go," Myers said.
Eric Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.