Chadron State College dedicated its Centennial Time Capsule during a ceremony at the Centennial Flag Plaza last week, addressing both a live audience and a video camera for an audience half a century from now.
The keynote address was delivered by longtime CSC newsman Con Marshall. CSC President Janie Park, Student Senate President Morgan Nelson of Norfolk and student organizer Tiffani Roelle of Columbus also spoke during the event.
Roelle, who has served as the time capsule committee coordinator, said the group began gathering items in August 2011, meeting frequently and coordinating with faculty and staff.
“It required a lot of teamwork and cooperation,” Roelle said, calling it an honor to help prepare an item that will be looked at by the CSC community in 50 years.
The students received ideas from a variety of sources, including Facebook accounts and emails. The group also received guidance from Emily Klein, retired CSC director of conferencing, who helped prepare a time capsule for the city of Chadron’s 125th anniversary.
“We had a notepad set up in the Student Center and received many wild ideas,” she said.
The items, which are expected to go on display in the Student Center this week, include a variety of memorabilia, including parking tickets, textbook receipts, key fobs and dormitory room keys, personal statements from campus leadership and video footage.
The stainless steel capsule, 12 inches by 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep, will be placed in a concrete vault at the Flag Plaza. Roelle said the committee opted to wait until after the ground thawed before burying the capsule. She said it will be placed in the ground in the coming weeks.
Park said she is hopeful that those opening the capsule will share the same hearty spirit of those who founded CSC.
"Similar to generations before us, we have worked to advance Chadron State and serve the region," Park said. "Chadron State's motto is 'Building Futures Every Day,' and we hope that the future generations looking at the contents of the time capsule will find our efforts worthy."
Marshall, who was CSC’s director of information services and sports information for 36 years and remains involved in the institution’s communications efforts, related stories about six individuals and one family who attended CSC on their way to success.
He said the stories were “just a few of the hundreds of success stories that we could tell about graduates of this college during the past century. There are many, many more such stories about people who were educated well on this campus and became contributors to the American success stories that we all like to hear.”
A brief description about each follows.
Gretchen Glode Berggren: Marshall said that Glode Berggren, the first female pre-med student, “may be the most significant person to ever grow up in Chadron.” After being accepted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center and completing studies to become a physician, she began improving lives through her work as a medical missionary. She was honored at the White House in 1992 for her life-long contribution to improving the health of children in Haiti.
Mildred Shelbourn Bishop: A lifelong resident of Cherry County, she began teaching at age 17 after earning a teaching certificate from Chadron State – then known as Nebraska State Normal School -- in 1922. She later became the mother of seven children, three of whom graduated from CSC. She earned a bachelor’s degree at age 65 by taking correspondence courses from CSC, taught five more years and worked in another job until she was 75. She died in 2010 at age 105.
Dr. Arpo Herrera Charging Thunder: A success story of the Rural Health Opportunities Program, Charging Thunder finished the program’s four years of coursework in three by carrying 23 credit hours per semester. Her success came after becoming the mother of four children while in her teens. With her training from the University of Nebraska Medical Center complete, she practices medicine for underprivileged populations with the Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska at Gering.
John Harms: A native of Morrill, Harms nearly dropped out of college after his first year. He was talked into staying, became an popular student, graduated and began an remarkably successful career in higher education administration – including 30 years as president of Western Nebraska Community College. He is now in his second term as a senator in the Nebraska Legislature, and recently cosponsored a bill for $6.7 million for the renovation and expansion of CSC’s Armstrong Gym.
Gene Hughes: A 1956 graduate, Hughes began his career as a highly successful math teacher at CSC, after interrupting studies toward his master’s degree to take the position. Before long, he was head of the department, completed more schooling, and later became CSC’s dean of administration. He was finally lured away from CSC by Northern Arizona University, where he spent 23 years, including 14 as president. He also spent five years as president of Wichita State University.
Caroline Sandoz Pifer: The youngest sibling of author Mari Sandoz, Pifer earned a degree in English in 1981, 53 years after first matriculating at the institution. After Mari died in 1966, Pifer became the family spokesperson and authored many articles about her sister’s work. Many of the items in CSC’s Sandoz Center were preserved and contributed by her. She died in March at age 101.
The Buckingham Family: Walter and Georgia Buckingham arrived near Morrill by covered wagon in 1905. Nine of the couple’s 10 children attended CSC or Chadron Prep, the high school portion of the college. The first to enroll funded her education with proceeds from raising five acres of cucumbers. Harold, one of the sons, arrived in Chadron in the late 1920s and soon rigged up a truck to deliver kerosene to area homes. It was the seed of Buckingham Freightlines, which would grow to 1,300 employees in 29 states at its heyday. All five of the Buckingham boys became millionaires.
Marshall concluded his presentation by relating a point made by Dr. George Griffith, who assisted him in the production of the centennial history book, “Chadron State College: A Century of Service.”
“Late in the process just before the book went to print he noted it was apparent that during the past century the Nebraska taxpayers have gotten their money’s worth out of the appropriations have been made to this college,” Marshall said. “I believe the stories we have just heard and many more like them help substantiate that thought. It has done its job well the past 100 years.”
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services
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