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History of Chadron State College

Located in Northwest Nebraska, Chadron State College has been helping students build their futures for more than a century.

Chadron State College, founded in 1911, began as a school that primarily prepared teachers, but now the institution emphasizes a strong undergraduate baccalaureate general education and offers pre-professional programs in a variety of disciplines while being the only four-year college serving the western half of Nebraska. CSC, which is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and subject-oriented accrediting agencies, also offers a limited number of master’s programs in education (1956), business (1984), and organizational management (2006). In 2016, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching reclassified Chadron State College under the category of Master’s Colleges and Universities: Medium Programs.

CSC has witnessed growth in student programs and enrollment through the years, but the College came from humble beginnings. The State Board of Education selected Chadron as the site of its fourth normal school in 1910 and acquired 80 acres of land south of Chadron, including the grounds of the recently closed Congregational Academy. On that plot of land, the Nebraska State Normal School was founded in 1911.

In 1921, the Nebraska State Legislature changed the institution’s name to Chadron State Teacher’s College. As the name suggested, the focus was teacher preparation; however, a statement in the 1921 catalog suggested a slightly expanded role: “to promote the educational interests of western Nebraska.” The institution was granted the authority to confer the baccalaureate degree in education at this time. In 1949, an act by the State Legislature allowed the College to grant the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Arts and Sciences. Students could now enroll at Chadron and pursue curricula other than teacher training.

In 1964, the State Legislature changed the name of the institution to Chadron State College. Since that time, CSC has grown into a comprehensive institution with a wide range of programs.

Presently, Chadron State College is a public, open-admissions, teaching and learning institution with an established edict to provide affordable, quality education to Nebraska students, out-of-state students, and to promote the cultural and economic growth of the region. CSC is the only four-year institution in Nebraska that serves Frontier and Remote (FAR) communities, remote and geographically isolated areas in the United States. According to the 2010 census, Chadron and other towns in the College’s service area are classified as FAR level three communities because they are remote from an area of more than 10,000 people. Since only about 1.4% of the U.S. population lives in FAR level three communities and as one of the few four-year colleges located in a frontier area, CSC has a special component to its regional role. The college does encourage research related to its mission; however, student-centered learning and best instructional practices have always been the primary focus.