The Sheldon Jackson Campus began in 1882 as a gift from Rev. John G. Brady, colleague of Rev. Sheldon Jackson. During the next decade 15 buildings were completed to serve as the Sitka Industrial and Training School, established by the Presbyterian Board of Home Missions for native education. By 1910 the school had outgrown its buildings. A New York architect was hired to design the Campus as we know it—a traditional academic quadrangle with Craftsman buildings.
Expanding to Higher Education
Over the years Sheldon Jackson College developed from a trade school for local Tlingit children to a college offering higher education, especially for Native and rural youth in Alaska. In 1917 the institution became a boarding High School, especially for Native and rural youth in Alaska. The school became Sheldon Jackson Junior College in 1944, and then Sheldon Jackson College in 1967.
The college curriculum featured work in education (especially training for village teachers) science (especially fisheries) and in the arts (especially native art, and native languages).
In 2007, due to lack of funds, the Sheldon Jackson College was forced to shut down. Over the following four years, the campus was boarded up but remained in the hands of the College’s Board of Trustees.
Ensuring a vibrant future
The Sheldon Jackson Board of Trustees wanted to maintain the Campus’ heritage of education in the arts, humanities and sciences:
The library, Stratton Library, was sold to the State of Alaska to become an extension of the Sheldon Jackson State Museum, already located on Campus. Stevenson Hall was sold to the Sitka Summer Music Festival to house its renowned musicians and guests. The administration building was sold to Youth Advocates of Sitka. Sage Hall, the science building, was sold to the Sitka Sound Science Center.The remaining 20 buildings and grounds of the campus, including the Hames Wellness Center, Allen Auditorium, Sweetland Hall, Rasmuson Student Center, Fraser Hall, Whitmore Hall, North Pacific Hall, Yaw Art Center, Yaw Chapel, the Ceramics Building, Kellogg Apartments, five Campus houses, and four other buildings, were given to Sitka Fine Arts Camp.