Prince William Sound Community College

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Prince William Sound Community College
Established 1978
President [vacant]
Students about 1400
Location Valdez, Alaska
61°08′02″N 146°21′22″W / 61.1339°N 146.3560°W / 61.1339; -146.3560Coordinates: 61°08′02″N 146°21′22″W / 61.1339°N 146.3560°W / 61.1339; -146.3560

Founded in 1978, Prince William Sound Community College (also known as PWSCC or P-Dub) is a community college located in Valdez, a coastal town and major port in south central Alaska.

PWSCC comprises three campuses. The main campus is in Valdez. The Copper Basin extension campus is in Glennallen, and another is in Cordova. The college is part of the University of Alaska Anchorage under the aegis of the University of Alaska System.

P-Dub services approximately 44,000 sq. mi., about the area of Ohio. Some 1400 local, rural, and out-of-state students attend PWSCC in face-to-face or ITV classrooms or via Blackboard. There is no out-of-state tuition.


Dr. John Devens founded the college in 1978 with an endowment of $50,000 he requested from the City of Valdez. For fiscal year 2012, Valdez allocated $700,000 for the school.[1]

Since 1989, the college has been housed in what was formerly Growden-Harrison Elementary School, built on the new Valdez town site soon after the 1964 Alaska earthquake.[2] The three buildings in the dormitory complex were originally Army barracks and later, low-income housing. The college acquired them in 1977 for one dollar and fully renovated them in 2010.

PWSCC instituted the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in 1993.[3]

In 1998, Maxine Whitney donated a large collection of native artifacts to the college. The collection now resides in the aptly named Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum, located on the PWSCC campus.

Academic Programs[edit]

Baccalaureate Degrees[edit]

  • Bachelor of Science in Natural Science*
  • Bachelor of Art in Psychology*
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology*
  • Bachelor of Business Administration**
  • Bachelor of Art in Elementary Education**
  • Bachelor of Human Services*
  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts**
  • Bachelor of Science, Technology, with Business Option*
    • *Offered in partnership with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) via distance
    • **Offered in partnership with University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) via distance

Associate Degrees[edit]

  • Associate of Arts (General Studies), AA
  • Associate of Fine Arts in Playwriting, AFA
  • Business Administration, AAS***
  • Computer Information and Office Systems, AAS
  • Disability Services
  • Community Support Emphasis, AAS*
  • Educational Support Emphasis, AAS*
  • Speech-Language Support Emphasis, AAS*
  • Fisheries Technology, AAS***
  • Health Sciences, AAS***
  • Human Services, AAS*
  • Industrial Technology
  • Millwright, AAS
  • Oil Spill Response, AAS
  • Safety Management, AAS
  • Nursing, AAS* (requires additional clinical sequence)
  • Outdoor Leadership, AAS**
    • *Offered in partnership with University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) via distance
    • **Offered in partnership with Kenai Peninsula College (KPC) via distance
    • ***Offered in partnership with University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) via distance


  • Disability Services*
  • Oil Spill Response
  • Safety Management

Occupational Endorsement[edit]

  • Computer Information Office Systems
  • Direct Service Specialist


PWSCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities.[4]



The main campus is located at 303 Lowe Street, where there are numerous classrooms, a wellness center, student lounge, and a computer lab, as well as the Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum,[5] a collection of Native Alaskan artifacts. Historical photographs from the original Valdez town site taken by P.S. Hunt, who was a photographer working throughout Alaska in the early 1900s, are also on the main campus.

Residence Halls[edit]

The residential complex comprises three historical buildings called Copper Basin Hall, Cordova Hall, and Valdez Hall, each named after one of the Prince William Sound campuses. Of particular interest is the large Whispering Giant wooden carving by Peter Wolf Toth.

The residence halls were completely renovated in 2010 and can house up to 44 students in 3-bedroom, 2-bedroom, 1-bedroom, and studio apartments. Each building has its own laundry room, and the dormitory complex includes a student lounge and computer lab.

Wellness Center[edit]

The Wellness Center has a variety of cardio and resistance equipment, free weights, and a variety of fitness classes. There is also other various pieces of equipment: stairs, body balls, jumping ropes, punching bag and boxing pads. The facility also has showers, lockers and towel service. The cardio areas also have cable TV.

The Student Wellness Alliance Network (SWAN) contributes to a program that allows the Wellness Center to loan out X-Country Skis and Snowshoes which can be used on the various trails and back country in Valdez.


The Valdez Consortium Library serves both the Prince William Sound Community College and the community of Valdez. The library is located at 212 Fairbanks St. The library has three levels, with elevator access available to the downstairs. The main level is home to two Alaskan murals painted by local artists.

The online library catalog contains the combined holdings of the Valdez Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage libraries and Anchorage Public Libraries. Services provided by the Valdez Consortium Library includes Public internet access with wireless, Inter Library Loan, access to database and articles, reference assistance, Listen Alaska (digital e-books and audio book collection), Mango Languages and more.

All students, staff, and faculty are eligible to receive library cards from the Valdez Consortium Library. PWSCC ID cards also serve as library cards, and can be activated at the library. More information about the Valdez Consortium Library can be found on the Library's web site and the PWSCC Library Services page.

The Whispering Giant and Bears[edit]

Located at the dormitory, the Whispering Giant Indian head is the 40th statue created by Peter "Wolf" Toth and was completed in October 1981. This work was carved from a mammoth Sitka Spruce and stands 30 feet high by 10 feet wide, weighing approximately 85,000 pounds. Two 12-foot tall grizzly bears carved by Toth stand on the main campus.

Peter "Wolf" Toth is a humanitarian who travels creating sculptures honoring the American Indian. His work can be found in all 50 states, Canada, and his native homeland, Hungary. To date, Toth has completed 67 Whispering Giant works venerating the American Indian. Exemplifying his commitment to this cause, he returned to Valdez in 2007 and completed a restoration project of the Whispering Giant and Bears for conservation and to extend the longevity of the works.[6]

Student Life[edit]

Clubs include PWSCC Game Club, Phi Theta Kappa, PWSCC Student Association, PWSCC Film Club, Archery Club, and the Multicultural Club.

The college is also host to various concerts and fundraisers.

The theatre department produces a couple of plays a year; the actors are made up of students and the local community.

Last Frontier Theatre Conference[edit]

The Last Frontier Theatre Conference is an annual event started in 1993 hosted by PWSCC in Valdez, Alaska. The two week event centers around American Theatre with an emphasis on playwriting. The conference involves theatrical productions, panel discussions, symposia, and workshops.

The three basic parts of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference are the Play Lab, various workshops and panel discussions, and lastly, the evening performances. The evening shows comprise works from attendants both past and present and are performed by imported and Alaskan theatre companies.

Plays are submitted from playwrights, then selected plays are read by actors to audiences. After the reading, the play is critiqued by academics, theatre professionals and the viewers, thus allowing development and growth for those involved. Participants are given the opportunity to work and study under award winning members of the theatre community.

Along with the Play Lab, some of the events include: The Fringe Festival, The Ten-Minute Play Slam, The Monologue Workshop, and Acting for Singers (co-produced with Anchorage Opera). On the closing day there is a gala dinner.

The Last Frontier Theatre Conference has received the Jerry Harper Service Award and The Sue Nims Distinguished Playwriting Award. Attendees have included August Wilson, John Guare, Arthur Miller, Horton Foote, Patricia Neal, Robert Anderson, Jean Stapleton and Terrance McNally.[7][8]

Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum[edit]

Prince William Sound Community College is home to the Maxine & Jesse Whitney Museum. The museum houses one of the largest collections of Native Alaskan art and artifacts in the world.

Coming to Alaska in 1947, Maxine opened a gift shop. She traveled around the state to Native villages purchasing works directly from artists, basket weavers and furriers, to later be sold in her store; she continued to gather items into the 1980s. The Eskimo Museum in Fairbanks came under ownership of Maxine in 1969. Ms. Whitney donated her collection of art and artifacts to PWSCC in 1998, and it now resides on the main campus.

Exhibits include masks, dolls, fur garments, various sizes of ivory and baleen with scrimshaw work. There are also Alaska wildlife mounts, including a moose and a polar bear; along with other exhibits on Alaska and its rich history. The Whitney Museum is open year round.[9][10]


Alyeska Pipeline Service Company[edit]

With the aid of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, PWSCC is able to implement training and programs on oil spill response and terminal operations in the Port of Valdez. They have partnered together since the 1990s and the PWSCC Wellness Center is funded by a yearly grant from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.[11]

Prince William Sound Science Center[edit]

Created in 1989, this non-profit research center fosters understanding of the ecosystems of Prince William Sound and the Copper River Delta. Education is done through outreach and research.

Sound Wellness Alliance Network[edit]

Sound Wellness Alliance Network (SWAN) is a network of community members committed to promoting healthy lifestyles to the citizens of Valdez. SWAN partnered with the PWSCC Wellness Center to create the Ski For Free program. The Ski For Free program loans ski equipment to members of the Valdez community for free.


  1. ^ "University of Alaska Prince William Sound Community College Component Budget Summary." State of Alaska FY2013 Governor’s Operating Budget.
  2. ^ "Facilities & Maintenance." Prince William Sound Community College.
  3. ^ "Last Frontier Theater Conference."
  4. ^ "Directory of Institutions M - R." Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities website. Last updated12/02/2013.
  5. ^ Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum.
  6. ^ "Peter Wolf Toth." Website. © 2013 David Schumaker.
  7. ^ Freedman, Donna. "What's Edward Albee doing in Alaska? Hobnobbing." The Chicago Tribune. 2 July 2002.
  8. ^ Miller, Arthur and Robert A. Martin. The Theater Essays Of Arthur Miller. New York: Da Capo Press, 1996, p. xviii.
  9. ^ Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum. Webpage.
  10. ^ "The Alaska Historical Society annual conference and meeting." Alaska History News, 39.3. (Summer 2011.) (Quarterly of the Alaska Historical Society.)
  11. ^ "Partnerships. "Prince William Sound Community College."

External links[edit]