Ernest N. Patty, one of six original faculty members at the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, developed the game of “rock poker” to teach prospectors the basics of geology. After leaving his geology professorship in 1935, Patty developed several mines in Alaska and the Klondike country, including the dredging operations on Coal and Woodchopper creeks on the south side of the Yukon River upriver of Circle. Patty’s oldest son died while piloting a flight from Woodchopper in 1947. In part to draw Patty out of the sadness of that event, his family encouraged him to return to the university as president in 1953. Patty undertook an unprecedented expansion of campus facilities during the next seven years.
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