Most of the buildings on the campuses of AK Child & Family are named after people who were a part of our history. Below is a story of one of those individuals:
Administration Building on the Jesse Lee Campus is named after Richard E. Gilbert
Dick Gilbert grew up in Michigan and is a graduate of Albion College and Garrett Theological Seminary. A United Methodist minister, Mr. Gilbert worked for fourteen years as a houseparent, recreation worker and chaplain in child care institutions in the State of Michigan. He was selected as Director of the Jesse Lee Home in 1965 and was responsible for the move of the Jesse Lee Home from Seward to Anchorage in 1966. He oversaw the construction of the new Jesse Lee Home in Anchorage and the establishment of a modern residential treatment program.
In the late 1960’s,Mr. Gilbert and other church leaders of Alaska began discussions that led to the merger of United Methodist, American Lutheran and American Baptist child care institutions in the state and the creation of Alaska Children’s Services (now called AK Child & Family) in 1970. Mr. Gilbert was selected as the first director of Alaska Children’s Services.
During his nine years in Alaska (1965–1974), Mr. Gilbert was one of the most able and articulate spokesmen for good child welfare and the needs of Alaska’s troubled children. He was responsible for the design and creation of numerous projects to serve the needs of both urban and rural Alaskans. In October of 1975, the board of directors voted to name the administrative center of the Jesse Lee Home, “Gilbert Center”, in his honor.