Saturday, April 3, 2021

It was only yesterday....okay, it was 70 years ago!

For a closer look at these and a few other CHS faculty over the years, visit   Teachers Gallery - Chadron Schools

Monday, March 15, 2021

CSC grad Dr. Eugene Hughes leaves great legacy

By Con Marshall

One of Chadron State College’s most prominent graduates, Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, died Wednesday, March 10 in Flagstaff, Ariz., at age 86. He was initially recognized as an outstanding mathematics professor at Chadron State College, his alma mater, and began his career in higher education administration while at CSC and was the president of two major universities and the interim president of a third institution.

Chadron State presented Hughes with its Distinguished  Service Award in 1982 and conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2003.

He was born April 3, 1934 in Scottsbluff and lived there his first 20 years. After graduating from what was then Scottsbluff Junior College, he enrolled at Chadron State.  He was named the college’s outstanding senior majoring in mathematics and graduated from the college first in his class of 63 in May 1956. 

Hughes spent the following year working on a master’s degree at Kansas State University, but returned in the fall of 1957 to teach math, gaining recognition as an exceptional mentor who helped numerous students launch outstanding careers.

In 1962, he began working on his doctorate at the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.  He returned to Chadron State in September 1965 to again teach math and serve as director of research. His popularity as a math professor helped the department grow rapidly. Before long, CSC had more math majors than the other three state colleges combined and almost as many as the University of Nebraska. 

In the late 1960s, he was promoted to dean of administration and was the leader in acquiring numerous federal grants and developing innovative programs that helped Chadron State earn the title of “Nebraska’s Pioneering College.”


In 1970, Hughes was lured to Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, where he spent 23 years, serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provost and academic vice president before becoming president on July 1, 1979.


During his 14 years as president, Northern Arizona’s state-appropriated operating budget increased 200 percent, the enrollment rose from 12,000 to 18,800 and the number of buildings on campus grew from 69 valued at $150 million to 90 valued at $750 million.  Midway through his presidency, NAU was selected by Money Magazine as one of 10 “up and coming” universities in the nation and was among 20 higher education institutions featured in the book “Searching for Academic Excellence.”


In addition, he received the university’s Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the 32,000 square foot building containing the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management that he founded was named in his honor.


Hughes became president of Wichita State in July 1993.  He was described as “the right man for the job” as he rekindled the university’s spirit and image, reversed the declining enrollment and found ways to greatly increase its support.


Near the end of his tenure at Wichita State, he was chosen the Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year by the state’s Society of Professional Engineers.


Shortly after he retired at Wichita State in 1998, the university dedicated the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, which contains a 1,700-seat auditorium and numerous offices.  The complex was purchased for the university through a $3.25 million gift that Hughes personally received from a donor who requested anonymity.


In mid-2001 after its president had resigned, Eastern Kentucky University at Richmond recruited Hughes to serve as interim president.  At the opening convocation, he told the employees “you will not be riding a dead horse.” Prior to the appointment of a new president, he was credited with providing dynamic leadership that helped stabilize the institution’s financial situation and led to several program improvements.


Hughes was elected secretary/treasurer of the 372-member American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1988 and was its chairman in 1990-91.  He also was a charter member of the presidential commission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education eight years, including a term as president.


Another of his career highlights occurred in September 2011, when Hughes returned to Chadron State for the “Gene Hughes Math Reunion” that was attended by 20 of his former students who had benefited from his teaching and leadership skills.  He had introduced many of them to the coming “computer age,” providing them with as much material as he could find. A number of them used the information as a springboard to innovative and lucrative careers.


“The main reason we got together was to thank Dr. Hughes for what he did for all of us,” said Stan Hoffman, one of the organizers of the reunion. “He was our leader and guiding light.  We owe him a lot and are proud that we were taught by him.


“It was fun to talk about all the changes we have seen,” Hoffman added. “Because of Dr. Hughes, we had a head start on what would follow.  Things like the Internet, e-mail, cell phones, I-pads and smart phones.”


At the end of the two-day reunion for the alums and their spouses, Hughes spoke to the gathering, noting, “Your success reflects so well on Chadron State and means so much to me. I have been thrilled to hear your stories and learn more about your success.”


In later years, Hughes and his wife, Margaret Ann, resided in Flagstaff, where he served as president/CEO and then chairman of the board of the Museum of Northern Arizona, which focuses on the origin and development of the Four-Corner area and included 47 structures. He also served a six-year term as a member of the national Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee and was its chairman 2009-11.


Survivors include his wife, the couple’s six children and their families.  Services will be announced at a later date. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Inquiring minds still want to know...

Nearly three years ago, in 2018, we posted the above photo from the 1950's and a short story with several questions – but one important question that we didn't ask.  

Who were these two officers?  In that earlier story, we remembered Hugh Oliver, who ran the tobacco shop that stood between the old Pace Theatre and the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department headquarters, and we recalled several police officers from back in that era.  Butch Foster, Vernon Story, Robert Beers, Burt Holmes, and Lester Jensen, among others.  In fact, we think the fellow on the right in the above photo might be Story.

Would be pleased to hear from anyone who can identify these fellows.  Of course, we're continuing our quest for a good photograph of the Newsy Nook.  That would be a most valued photo, indeed!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Another Pioneer of Dawes County – a 1909 Profile


     The name of Harry L. Bartlett is a familiar one to the residents of Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has lived for many years, locating here when this region was practically in its infancy, and has taken a leading part in its development and growth from its early settlement. He owns a well improved and valuable estate in section 6, township 29, range 47, and enjoys a pleasant and happy home.

     Mr. Bartlett was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1865. His father, Alfred E., married Rebecca Putnam, also born and raised in Massachusetts, and they afterwards came west and were among the oldest settlers in Nebraska, where the father engaged in the farming and ranching business. The subject of our sketch was but three years of age when his parents settled in Audubon county, Iowa, and he was reared and educated there, attending the country schools during his boyhood. At the age of twenty Mr. Bartlett came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in the southeastern corner of Dawes county, "batching it" for several years, living near a brother who had settled here some years before. He. proved up on his claim, and was in the cattle business from the first, farming a small portion of his place, and during the hard times working in the Black Hills in the mines. He spent a short time at Deadwood. He filed on another homestead in section 12, township range 48, and remained for four years, farming during that time, but proved up also and located on his present farm in 1893. Here he bought land, put up buildings and developed a good ranch and has been most successful in every venture, the place consisting of thirty two quarter sections, a large part of which he along the Pepper creek. He has it all fenced and cross fenced, and devotes his time to the sheep raising business principally although he has about thirty horses and a few head of cattle. One hundred and fifty acres are devoted to farming purposes, raising small grain, corn, oats, etc., for feed for his stock.

     In the early days of Mr. Bartlett's residence here he went through many rough experience in traveling by team through the wild country, surrounded by wild beasts and spending many a night sleeping on the snow covered ground. For some time he was employed as a stage driver, carrying the mail from Hay Springs to Nonpareil in Box Butte county, and at that time there were only three dwelling places on the road between these two towns.

     Mr. Bartlett was united in marriage in 1893, to Miss Bessie Fenner, daughter of Bradford Fenner, an old settler in this state. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Bartlett was a teacher in the schools of Dawes county. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett are the parents of two children namely: Arthur, aged fourteen years, and Raymond, aged ten years.

     Mr. Bartlett is a Republican in his politic views and takes a keen interest in party affairs.


NOTE:  From the "Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska"