A Campus Rich in History
The history of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture reaches back to the early 1900s when it was created as an agriculture high school. At that time in history, most students ended their formal education in eighth grade. If a student wished to continue his or her education, he or she would have to attend a state high school and, in most cases, that meant leaving home to live on a high school campus. In 1911, the Nebraska State Legislature voted to build an agriculture high school somewhere in southwest Nebraska. Curtis won the bid for the school and construction began. The school's Agriculture Hall was completed in 1913 and welcomed its first students in the fall of that year. Courses offered in 1913 were described as follows: "A strong and practical course in agriculture and manual training and regular high school subjects offered for the young men who wish to go back to the land. A course will be offered for young women in sewing, cooking and the art of housekeeping, along with the regular high school subjects." Since the school was a state institution, no tuition was charged. Room and board cost $4 a week and the students stayed in the "best homes in Curtis." Eventually dormitories were built to house the students.
"In the early 1960s, a Nebraska Unicameral legislature interim study revealed there was a serious shortage of adequately trained, technically educated, work force to meet the needs of farmers, ranchers and agribusiness related industries in Nebraska," wrote Donald Ringstmeyer in his history of NCTA. "This need was serious enough to actually impede the normal economic growth of rural as well as urban Nebraska." To help meet this need, an agricultural related technical school on the post-secondary education level was established in 1965. It was initially called the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture at Curtis (UNSTA) and offered two programs - Agriculture Drafting, Surveying and Soil Science and Agriculture Machinery Mechanics Technology. The college shared space with the state high school for three years until the last class of high school students graduated in 1968. In 1966, the Ag Business and Commercial Horticulture programs began, followed in 1967 with the Production Agriculture program and in 1968 with the Veterinary Technology program. Today, NCTA remains a part of the University of Nebraska system and has evolved to meet the needs of a changing agriculture industry.
Be a Part of History
NCTA alumni are a special group of graduates. It is hard to travel through Nebraska and the surrounding areas without meeting an alumnus of either the high school or college. All UNSTA/NCTA alumni are invited to attend an annual banquet held in March. The banquet is held in different areas of the state and the information is distributed through the alumni newsletter. Members of honor classes receive special invitations to the banquet. Alumni remain active in the campus life through sponsored functions and events. You too can become a part of NCTA's rich history.
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