bet36365体育 History

Historic photo, meeting students in 1915

Founding years: 1903-1905

March 1903: The Nebraska Legislature appropriated $50,000 to build a normal school in western Nebraska, touching off a heated competition among several communities bidding to be selected. On September 1, 1903, after 111 ballots, the State Board of Education awarded the school to Kearney for its offer of 20 acres and the Green Terrace apartments for a dormitory.

1905: A.O. Thomas, then superintendent of Kearney Public Schools, was named the normal school’s first president and the inaugural classes were held that summer in Longfellow High School and Whittier Elementary. One week into the fall semester, September 25, classes moved from KPS to the campus Administration building though it featured only temporary stairs, lacked window glass, and required steam engines to deliver heat until the heating plant was completed.

The first decades: 1900s-1920s

“Normal Schools” were devoted to teacher preparation and students could enter after completing 8th grade. In addition to studying math, sciences and history the curriculum included art, language and literature, drama and music, domestic science and woodworking and agriculture. Among many clubs, Recreation Club and Agriculture Club were the most popular. During WWI, enrollment dropped from 451 (1915) to 305 (1918).

1921: The name change reflected a truly significant shift to granting four-year baccalaureate degrees in the liberal arts for teachers. Case Hall (1930) was the first residence hall constructed, with room and board costing $6.50 per week, and the first hall for men, Men’s Hall, opened in 1939. The college celebrated is Golden Anniversary June 15, 1955, attended by members of the first graduating class (1906) and enrollment reached 2,000 in 1961.

Kearney State College: 1963-1991

1963: More than a mere name change, the naming of Kearney State College signified that the institution had become more than a teacher education institution, and that Kearney had a mission unique from the other three former Teachers Colleges. In 1970, the number of faculty swelled to 274 and student enrollment increased to 5,870, requiring construction of the Centennial Towers in 1965 and 1967. For a time, students referred to the college as Nebraska State, using a large “N” on uniforms and cheerleading outfits.

1989: The Nebraska legislature passed a bill moving KSC to the University of Nebraska system. This law was then challenged and reviewed by the Nebraska Supreme Court, and affirmed.

The name change was far from cosmetic and required numerous transformations from reorganizing separate schools into colleges and to revision of institutional, faculty and staff constitutions and bylaws to increased admissions standards among many others. After an initial period of transition, the campus has achieved increasing distinction in academic, scholarly and creative activity, campus renewal and construction, and student success.

Names for bet36365体育 since 1903

1903: “Normal schools” in the early 1900s referred to schools training high school graduates to become teachers: Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney.

1921-1962: the college was Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney.

1963-1990: Kearney State College, part of the Nebraska state college system.

1989: The Nebraska legislature passed a bill moving KSC to the University of Nebraska system. This law was challenged and reviewed by the Nebraska Supreme Court, and affirmed.

1991: University of Nebraska at Kearney becomes official on July 1, 1991.

Succession of Leadership

Chancellor Kristensen

Douglas A. Kristensen, Chancellor
University of Nebraska at Kearney
2002 - 2024

William Nester

William R. Nester, President/Chancellor
Kearney State College/University of Nebraska at Kearney
1983 - 1993

Milton Hassel

Milton J. Hassel, President
Kearney State College
1961 - 1971

George Martin

George Martin, President
Nebraska State Normal School / Nebraska State Teacher's College
1919 - 1936

A.O. Thomas

A.O. Thomas, President
Nebraska State Normal School
1905 - 1913

Gladys Johnston

Gladys Styles Johnston, Chancellor
University of Nebraska at Kearney
1993 - 2002

Brendan McDonald

Brendan J. McDonald, President
Kearney State College
1972 - 1982

Herbert Cushing

Herbert L. Cushing, President
Nebraska State Teacher's College
1936 - 1961

George Dick

George S. Dick, President
Nebraska State Normal School
1914 - 1919

Acting Presidents

  • Earl E. Rademacher, 1982 - 1983
  • Marvin G. Knittel, 1971 - 1972
  • R.M. Snodgrass, 1913 - 1914


The University of Nebraska at Kearney is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). bet36365体育 also has several discipline specific accreditations and certifications.

This institution, founded as a two-year state-supported normal school in 1903, was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1916. It became Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney in 1921 with its four-year programs being fully accredited in 1923. Master's level programs were accredited preliminarily in 1962 and fully in 1971. In 1963 the name of the institution became Kearney State College. Specialist degree accreditation was granted in 1976. Upon the campus's integration into the University of Nebraska, a new affiliation statement was approved in November 1991. The most recent decennial NCA review was completed in 2004. The next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2013-14.
2004 Self-Study Materials 
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