Those who know Chadron State College best weren’t surprised when the institution earned a “Hidden Treasure” designation by a national news magazine at the turn of the 21st century. As Chadron State celebrates several consecutive years of enrollment growth more than a decade later, perhaps the secret is out. While it may be less hidden, Chadron State is still more than worthy of being called a treasure.
Chadron’s “college town” charm has won over many students and faculty members. Northwest Nebraska has been described as the convergence of many popular characteristics. Chadron is the seat of Dawes County, about half of which is open to the public for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and other recreational activities. The surrounding landscape is known for its pine-studded buttes that stand above golden wheat fields and pastures dotted with cattle and wildlife.
As a public institution with its roots in teacher education, Chadron State takes pride in its accessibility. People are often surprised when comparing Chadron State’s cost of attendance with other institutions of higher education. It may sound cliché, but it’s true: the students of Chadron State get unrivaled quality for the dollar. The curriculum has grown to offer programs and courses in 65 majors and endorsements and eight master’s degree programs. The five bachelor’s degree programs attracting the most students are business administration, education, biology-health sciences, justice studies and rangeland management. Chadron State’s approach of offering a top quality education for a reasonable cost has helped improve the lives of countless graduates, many who were the first in their families to attend college. Alumni from near and afar testify that Chadron State was a major factor in their success and is responsible for the best years of their lives.
A college administrator once gave Chadron State College the tagline “A College of Opportunity.” More than most other institutions – especially larger ones -- students who attend Chadron State become involved in classroom and extracurricular activities. Whether it’s the football team and the college newspaper, students have the opportunity to gain experience and develop the skills necessary to be successful upon graduation.
Chadron State College is located on the Great Plains. Its official service area includes the western most 30 counties in Nebraska, an expanse of nearly 38,000 square miles stretching from the Wyoming and Colorado borders on the west to central Nebraska on the east. Chadron State College has long served as one of the leaders in distance education. As the institution has sought to serve its vast service region and other areas of the Great Plains and beyond, it has capitalized on cutting edge technologies. Stories from shortly after the college’s founding give account of professors traveling to neighboring communities by car and airplane to offer courses. Later, interactive television served as the vehicle of choice. Now, the institution has embraced online education and has been recognized for its excellence in offering more than 160 courses over the Internet.
Chadron State College boasts a vibrant campus atmosphere that keeps students hopping when they aren’t hitting the books. More than 70 clubs and organizations, and an active residence life program, help students gather and learn with people who share their interests. In addition to the myriad of student plays, concerts and presentations, programs such as the Galaxy Series of fine arts and cultural events attract big-name performers and exhibits. Chadron State fields 11 sports programs in NCAA Division II, along with competitive club and intramural sports. If that’s not enough, a reasonable drive puts students in the heart of South Dakota’s Black Hills, the Rocky Mountains, and the cultural amenities of cities such as Rapid City, Denver and Scottsbluff.
Chadron State takes pride in its beautiful campus and facilities. Many of the most historical buildings on campus have been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities, making it a comfortable place to live and study. Chadron State’s residence halls are known for being spacious. Students will feel right at home with the dining services, workout facilities and a recreational trail that meanders south of campus. At the time of this writing in September 2012, the college was planning to begin more than $19 million of construction on campus.
As you can tell, Chadron State has many reasons to be proud. However, if you ask people what they love most about Chadron State, you’ll often get the same answer: “It’s the people.” Chadron State was created because of the pioneering spirit of people who settled the Great Plains, which is still evident in their descendants who occupy northwest Nebraska. Students from the college and surrounding community welcome students from a diverse set of backgrounds and take value in what they bring to the region. The student body, which consists predominately of Nebraskans, is enriched with enrollees from 35 states and more than a dozen countries. Whether their hometowns are defined as rural, urban, nearby or afar, they have one thing in common: They are proud to be Chadron State College Eagles.
Chadron State College, nestled against the north slope of Nebraska’s beautiful Pine Ridge, lies within the southern boundary of the city of Chadron (SHAD-ren), Nebraska, U.S.A. which has a population of approximately 6,000 residents. Chadron, founded in 1885, and the surrounding region of the Great Plains, are rich in western pioneer and native-American history. At 3,400 feet elevation, Chadron is surrounded by unbroken grassland, cattle ranches, wheat fields, and the lightly forested hills of the Pine Ridge. It is located just one hour’s drive south of one of America’s most famous landmarks, Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Another of America’s most unique and popular natural landmarks, Yellowstone Park, is less than one day’s drive to the west.
Fort Robinson, twenty-eight miles away, was once a colorful frontier military post and provides a variety of activities amid its historic buildings, including the Post Playhouse, sponsored each summer by the college’s theatre department.
Chadron State Park, the Pine Ridge, the Museum of the Fur Trade (the largest of its kind), the Sandhills of Nebraska, the Hudson-Meng Bison Site, the Agate Fossil Beds, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Hot Springs Mammoth Site provide opportunities for exciting day trips, including sight-seeing, fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking and skiing. Chadron is also located near the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the eighth-largest in America.
The city of Chadron has a municipal airport with daily flights to Denver International Airport and a modern municipal hospital with a health clinic for students.
Chadron is also home of the headquarters for the United State Forest Service operations overseeing two national forests and three national grasslands.
In 2000, “Sports Afield” designated Chadron as one of the “top 50 outdoor sports towns” in the nation and one of the four best mountain biking towns in the United States. “Outside Magazine” has selected Dawes County, where Chadron is located, as one of the nation’s top 100 counties in which to live.
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