The lobby of the Patty Center renders intense shadows from the winter sun at midday in early January. The Ernest N. Patty Center, located on Tanana Loop, houses a 2,700-seat gymnasium, a 25-yard swimming pool, courts for handball and racquetball, weight rooms, the E.F. Horton rifle range, classrooms, locker rooms with saunas and a human performance laboratory.
The Patty Center is home to UAF’s NCAA varsity teams, which include Division II men’s and women’s basketball, cross-country running, cross-country skiing, women’s volleyball, women’s swimming and Division I men’s hockey, as well as the 10-time NCAA champion men’s and women’s rifle team. The university’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program also makes its home in Patty.
Ernest Newton Patty joined the first faculty of the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1922 as professor of geology and mining and later as dean of the college. The board of regents tapped him as president of the university in 1953 and he served in that role until his retirement in 1960.