Alaska native named to dean's post at Wayland - Fairbanks

Dr. John Copeland III has been named dean of the Wayland Baptist University campus in Fairbanks, Alaska, effective Sept. 1.

A native of Alaska, Copeland served in the U.S. Army at Fort Richardson and he and wife Jill were church planter missionaries to the Fairbanks area in the 1980s. He has been a pastor for the past 13 years at Skyline Family Fellowship in Eagle River.

Copeland's connection with Wayland began in 1987, when he began working as an adjunct professor in religion and associate director of the Alaska campus. His return to the university, he feels, is a result of God's calling.

Along with his duties as dean, Copeland will be assistant professor of religion in Fairbanks. He holds degrees from North Georgia College, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary.

Copeland and his wife have three children - Julianna, 20, Jennifer, 14, and John IV, 13 - and one granddaughter.

"We're glad to have John on board for several reasons," said Dr. Bill Hardage, executive vice president at Wayland. "First, he has a terminal degree, which should bring strength to the position. Secondly, he is a longtime Alaska resident and has lived in Fairbanks before, so he knows the area. He also seems to love students."

The Fairbanks campus has been in place since 1999, falling under the larger umbrella of the Alaska campus from 1985 to that time. The campus is located in Washington Plaza on Airport Way, and classes are also offered at Fort Wainwright and on Eielson Air Force Base. Enrollment is currently around 250 students.

Wayland - Fairbanks serves many military servicemen and women, with 90 percent of the student population in the armed forces. Eighty percent of those come from Eielson AFB. The average age of students in Fairbanks is 33. Degrees are offered in business administration, human services and occupational education.

For more information on Wayland - Fairbanks, contact the campus at (907) 452-3236.