05 Mar

For Immediate Release

In May, Matanuska-Susitna College will see the retirement of  two distinguished long time professors.   Mr. Jack Cypher and Dr. Ping-Tung Chang have served sixteen and twenty-six years respectively.

Mr. Cypher first joined Matanuska-Susitna College as a visiting instructor for Refrigeration and Heating Technology in October of 1997.  He had already developed a record of decades of employment as a journeyman, supervisor and HVAC instructor long before he joined the faculty of the college.   Along with several professional certifications, Mr. Cypher was himself a graduate of Matanuska-Susitna College in 1989.   He has been an active member in both this community and the college.  In 2003 the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Historical Commission honored Mr. Cypher for his work on installing a heating system at the Knik Museum.  In 2006 Mr. Cypher was one of seven national winners in the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) competition  when he represented the college at the NATE Certified Technician Competition in Baltimore, Maryland.   Mr. Cypher has been a key figure in the enduring success of the college Refrigeration and Heating Program.   College Director Talis Colberg noted “Mr. Cypher is one of the quietest and most reliable people on campus.   He was a cornerstone figure in our work to offer vocational options for university students and he will be missed.”

Dr. Ping-Tung Chang was the first full time math professor hired by the Matanuska-Susitna College.   He was hired by Dr. Glenn Massay nearly three decades ago.   The Matanuska-Susitna College was founded in 1958.   Dr. Chang has been a member of the college faculty for literally half of the history of the institution.    Dr. Chang has focused his life on the well-being of both the college and his students.   He founded a Math Club.   For many years he organized food drives for needy families in the borough.   Dr. Chang was recognized many times for his unique “Grow Your Own” teaching methods and devotion to students.   The Alaska State Legislature issued citations in honor of Dr. Chang several times.   He was twice recognized as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Alaska State Professor of the Year, first in 2001 and again in 2009.  In 2010 Dr. Chang was recognized as the CASE United States  Professor of the Year, an unprecedented national award for an Alaskan professor.    His award ceremony in Washington DC was attended by UAA Chancellor Fran Ulmer and included a special visit to the Chinese Embassy.   Chinese and Taiwanese authorities have both recognized and honored Dr. Chang for his accomplishments in this country.   In addition, Dr. Chang established the Ping-Tung Chang Scholarship Fund through the University of Alaska Foundation to benefit future scholars.    Dr. Chang has been a zealous fund raiser for the scholarship fund which now ranks as the third largest scholarship fund in the Matanuska-Susitna College portfolio.    Director Colberg observed, “Dr. Chang has been an enduring fixture at Matanuska-Susitna College.   For nearly three decades this school has been his family and his life, and he will be remembered for a long time.   We wish him well.”