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Mat-Su College, Alaska | Alumni

Alumni BBQ and Alumni Chapter Formation

September 10th, 2014

Pictured left to right are Charter members David Johnson, Keith Asche and Delena Johnson; Director of Marketing at Mat-Su College Courtney Brooke Smith and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations Rachel Morse at the official signing of the Mat-Su Area Alumni Chapter

Matanuska-Susitna College hosted the third annual Alumni BBQ on July 8 in the MSC café.  Delicious hamburgers were grilled up and alumni and their families brought delicious side dishes for sharing.  You can view photos of the event on our Pinterest site!

As a result of this event and eager alumni coming together again, we are excited to announce the formation of the first ever Mat-Su Area Alumni Chapter – the newest addition to the UAA Alumni Association.  The group will be responsible for holding at least one meeting annually, participate in the annual Alumni Assembly and host one event per year.  The official signing took place at Vagabond Blues in Palmer.  All MSC graduates, as well as UAA graduates, are invited to join the chapter!  If you are interested, please email

Congratulations MSC Graduates of 2014!

September 10th, 2014

On Thursday, May 8, 2014, Mat-Su College graduates congregated at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School to walk across the stage.  Approximately 175 graduates left the evening, proudly sporting their caps and gowns, and holding diplomas and certificates in hand.

Fellow graduate Rebecca Stiner, receiving an Associate of Arts degree and graduating with honor as a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member, was the student speaker for the class of 2014.  Guest commencement speaker Emil Notti, a distinguished Alaskan and prominent leader whose life’s work has shaped Alaska policy in many ways, shared a little from Alaskan history and his experiences as Commissioner.

Dr. Ping-Tung Chang, an MSC professor who has served the institution for 26 years, was presented with Emeritus status at the ceremony as well.  Dr. Chang retired this year, but has certainly left a lasting legacy.

Dedicated Faculty Retire After Years of Service

September 10th, 2014

Pictured left to right are Mr. Jack Cypher and Dr. Ping-Tung Chang

Among many other contributions to the college, Dr. Ping-Tung Chang started a math club, taught in a unique “Grow Your Own” style, was awarded with the CASE 2010 U.S. Professor of the Year, founded the Ping-Tung Chang Scholarship Fund and has received numerous awards from various groups for all of his efforts to help students succeed.  Dr. Chang, or “PT” as he is more affectionately known, was also presented with Emeritus status at the 2014 Commencement Ceremony in May.

Jack Cypher taught at MSC for 16 years within the Refrigeration and Heating Technology program.  A graduate of MSC himself, Mr. Cypher was active in both the community and college.  Mr. Cypher was honored by the Mat-Su Borough Historical Commission for his work installing a heating system at the Knik Museum and was a national winner in the North American Technician Excellence competition in 2006. Mr. Cypher was one of the quietest and most reliable people on campus and will be missed!

Happy retirement to you both!

New Program Waives Nonresident Tuition Surcharge

September 10th, 2014

We are excited to announce the new program “Come Home to Alaska!” As of Monday, July 28, 2014, The University of Alaska System has put in place a new initiative enticing Lower 48 students with family ties in Alaska to head north.

“Come Home to Alaska” waives the nonresident surcharge for students with parents or grandparents currently living in the state. This means a substantial savings to an out-of-state student—over $13,000 for 30 undergraduate credits a year.

The program will start with the fall 2014 semester. Please contact Student Services (Admissions) at 907-745-9746 for more information.

Mat-Su College Receives $26,000 Scholarship

September 10th, 2014

Talis Colberg, Mat-Su College Director and Mrs. Mary Jane Phelps

Mat-Su College is pleased to announce the establishment of the Frank and Jennie Clark Memorial Scholarship – a perpetual scholarship name for the benefit of students at MSC.  Mr. and Mrs. Phelps donated $26,000 to the University of Alaska Foundation to establish this fund in memory of Frank and Jennie Clark.

The Clarks established a homestead on Lazy Mountain in 1932 and Clark-Wolverine Road is named in part in recognition of their family.  They had two daughters, Mary Jane (Phelps) and Betty Jeanne (Frisk).  Mary Jane Phelps recalls her parents’ strong belief that hard work and education would always serve them well.

Lunafest Brings Community Members Together

April 16th, 2014 

This was the second year MSC hosted Lunafest, a nationally-traveling film festival full of short stories by, for, and about women.  85 people came to Mat-Su College on April 4, 2014, to view these films and participate in the silent auction run by the MSC Student Government.  All proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction were donated to MYHouse, a local non-profit, and the Breast Cancer Fund.  In all, $2,738 was raised.  Of these funds, $2,383.55 was given to MYHouse and $354.45 to the Breast Cancer Fund.

Mat-Su Employer Expo a Huge Success

April 16th, 2014 

Some of you may have attended the Mat-Su Employer Expo on March 11, 2014.  Close to 500 job seekers attended the expo, with over 100 employers lining the halls of Mat-Su College.  The business representatives were available to talk with throughout the day and various career workshops were held.

MSC is always eager to help both current students and our alumni find employment.  Karen Backlund in Career Services likes to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest opportunities.  Bookmark the Career Opportunities page of the MSC website to see new opportunities every week!

MSC Receives $28,520 Health Scholarship

April 16th, 2014

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, Don and Sherry Shiesl donated $28,520.20 to Matanuska-Susitna College to endow a scholarship for MSC students in health-related fields. The permanently endowed fund will be known as the Marie Narhi Shiesl Scholarship in memory of Don Shiesl’s Mother. Marie Narhi Shiesl spent many years working at Bedford Hospital in Bedford, Ohio, starting as a nurses’ aide and later advancing to be a licensed practical nurse. She was also a widow raising two sons and was unable to afford the training that would have allowed her to become a registered nurse. The scholarship is intended to honor the legacy of all nurses who have devoted their lives to caring for the sick and injured.

Alumni BBQ 2014 – Save The Date!

April 16th, 2014

We are looking forward to hosting the Third Annual Alumni BBQ on July 8, 2014 from 5-8pm. MSC will provide the main course and a cake to celebrate! We’re asking for anyone attending to again bring their favorite side dish and/or a complimentary dessert to share. Also returning this year will be several raffles and free giveaways. Bring your business card to throw in for your chance at winning some neat gifts!

Last year we had a blast reconnecting with alumni over a delicious meal. To our recent graduates, we look forward to a long tradition of revisiting with you during our Annual Alumni BBQs and other future events. Questions, contact us at:

Christine S. – Scholarship Recipient

January 21st, 2014

“Thank you for the opportunity you have given me with this scholarship.”

Christine is the first student to receive the Alvin S. and Gloria M. Okeson Scholarship. A lifelong Alaskan, she has always had strong ties to the Mat-Su community. So when she decided to return to school, Matanuska-Susitna College was an easy choice. But working full time and supporting a family while attending school isn’t so easy.

“My husband and I are on a limited income. Without this scholarship I would not be able to buy the books and supplies I need for my classes.”

The Okeson Scholarship provides support to Christine and students like her, by relieving some of the financial burden and allowing them to focus on making the most of their educational opportunities. Thanks to her hard work and the support of donors like you, Christine will graduate this December with her associate degree in accounting.

“Thank you for this generous scholarship. Without it, life and school would be much more difficult.”