SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. – Songs native to Nebraska filtered through the halls of the Panhandle Research and Extension Center in Scottsbluff last Friday, as hundreds gathered for an open house to celebrate the University of Nebraska’s 150th birthday.
Following music, as provided by the Gering High School jazz band, and a brief introduction by Extension Director Dr. Jack Whittier, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green took the stage.
“It is a real pleasure to be here and to celebrate with you this great institution that we call the University of Nebraska,” he said as part of his speech. “Feb. 15, 1969, is (the) charter date of the University of Nebraska, and we were chartered as a land-grant university, as part of the land-grant effort that was just getting off the ground at that point in time. You have to try to imagine what it was like in Nebraska at that time; Nebraska was two years old as a state – statehood had occurred in 1867 … Lincoln, where the site had been determined for our state capital to be, where our university was to be founded under this land-grant act, was essentially a village with just a few buildings … the university was being planted essentially with the state. “We’ve developed and built with the state, and that land-grant mission … it courses through my veins to believe in the land-grant system and land-grant mission, Abraham Lincoln – and that’s the president of this country, the namesake of our city the university is located in now – was a visionary in being able to come out of the Civil War … to have the vision to establish power of education for the public.”
Following Green’s address, special scholarship announcements were made, in addition to music from the Scottsbluff High School A cappella Choir, including the song, “Beautiful Nebraska”.
Attendees then enjoyed cake from the Scottsbluff High School culinary class and UNL Dairy Store ice cream made especially for the celebration.
Tours of Extension laboratories, equipment, and demonstrations followed.
Originally, the University of Nebraska was located entirely on the Lincoln campus, according to a press release by Dave Ostdiek, Extension Communication Associate. But as the years passed, the University extended its reach throughout the state by establishing extension offices in many of Nebraska’s 93 counties to share research-based knowledge, especially in agriculture and home arts.
“Research stations also were established in several locations around the state to conduct research in Nebraska’s widely varying climate and geography, addressing local priorities.”
In the release, Whittier said the Scottsbluff event brought the birthday celebration to Nebraskans who are far from the original campus.
“Nebraska is a big state, and we realize that being 400 miles from Lincoln campus sometimes limits how involved western Nebraskans can actively participate in events like the 150th anniversary. So, we determined to host a western Nebraska N|150 celebration to show off what the university is doing in the Panhandle,” he said in the release. “While agriculture is still a key part of our mission, we invite community members who may not have been to the Center to come check out the resources of the university that are in your own