Chadron State College President Dr. Janie Park had good news to report about the institution’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign during the fall semester’s first meeting for all faculty and staff Friday. She said pledges for the Vision 2011 fund-raising campaign have surpassed $10 million of the $11 million goal.
The initiative, which was officially launched last fall, is scheduled to wrap up in about 14 months to coincide with the college’s centennial celebration.
“Connie (Rasmussen, executive director of the Chadron State foundation) and the foundation staff and foundation board have done an extraordinary job in spite of being in the worst economic depression since the Great Depression,” she said. “I am confident that we will make our goal. We will be making a major push in the next 14 months and I hope that you all will join us in supporting this campaign.”
The proceeds will help the campus improve facilities, endowments and the annual fund. The facility projects include the new Rangeland Agriculture Center and Pavilion and the Events Center.
The campaign is just one of many highlights the president touched upon during her presentation, which was just over 35 minutes.
Also of note, Park said, is the college’s conversion to new systems for maintaining student information and financials. Despite glitches, she said the transition has been smooth, especially considering the large scope of the project. This fall marks the first time the new systems are being used exclusively.
“I do want to thank the folks who have been living and breathing NeSIS (the Nebraska Student Information System) and SAP (the new financial software) for the past year and spending more time in Lincoln than Chadron,” she said. “Although we’re learning and still finding issues, on a whole the project has actually run very smoothly.”
She said it was still too early to report on enrollment, but preliminary figures are running even or ahead of last year’s head count.
“We still have a lot of students registering and a lot of people who are working hard to get those students into the remaining seats in classes,” she said. “We are tracking closely to last year’s numbers. It’s too soon to know until all the students are in their seats. From everything we’re seeing, it looks like we’ll be at least level with last year and maybe a little above that.”
Park also pointed out the college’s new website design which was launched Thursday. The new design – created by Sam Williams, webmaster, Daniel Binkard, graphic design artist, and Dewayne Gimeson, publications specialist – reflects the college’s centennial year and is intended to provide more intuitive navigation by its users.
Park said work will be completed this fall on a new flag plaza on Dean’s Green directly north of the Old Admin Building. In addition, construction will begin on a new “formal entrance” to the campus at 10th and Main streets.
In other facility matters, she said the demolition of the Kline Campus Center will begin during the next two weeks and urged patience as demolition crews use a large portion of the building’s parking lot during the process. She said the project could be completed early this fall.
Park said work will begin this year on a new five-year strategic plan to replace the current one, which expires next year. She is charging each of the college’s three vice presidents to work with their respective staffs to devise initiatives for the plan.
“It’s very appropriate during our centennial year to be looking not only at our history, but to be looking forward to the next century,” she said.
Also of note, Park said, is the new Pilster Great Plains Lecture Series. Wildlife and landscape photographer Michael Forsberg and rancher-falconer-author Dan O’Brien will explore relationships between humans and the Great Plains during a presentation at Memorial Hall on Thursday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.
Park opened the presentation by quoting findings from the Beloit College Mindset List, which points differences of incoming college freshmen and older generations. Most of this year’s group, which primarily was born in 1992, do not know how to write in cursive, for instance.
She also introduced new members of the faculty and staff and conducted a moment of reflection for three employees who died this summer – John Shafer, Dr. Ronald Weedon and Dr. George Watson.
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services