Dr. F. Clark Elkins, who was the president of Chadron State College for 5 ½ years during time of great growth and improvement, died Saturday, Nov. 24 at his home in Jonesboro, Ark. He was 94.
Chadron State’s enrollment was 807 in the fall of 1961, a couple of months after Elkins became its sixth president. By the fall of 1965, a few months before he resigned to become president at Northeast Missouri State, now Truman State, it had nearly doubled.
Five buildings, the Kline Campus Center, the National Guard Armory, Armstrong Gymnasium and Kent and Andrews Residence Halls, were constructed during that period. Funding also had been obtained for a new heating plant, the Reta King Library and the High Rise Dormitory.
Elkins also was credited with recruiting professors who had doctorates and encouraging faculty already at the college to earn higher degrees, took steps to strengthen the colleges accreditation status and helped launch the Chadron State Foundation so students could obtain loans and additional scholarships.
Elkins also helped convince the Board of Trustees of Nebraska State Colleges and ultimately the Legislature to provide more funding for salaries and benefits and classroom equipment.
Prior to coming to Chadron State, Elkins was a history professor at Henderson State College in his native Arkansas. His initial visit to Chadron State was in the fall of 1960, when he was part of a team checking the colleges accreditation. A year later became its president.
Following a 2 ½ year tenure as president of Truman State, he was a vice president at Arkansas State at Jonesboro for 11 years and Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff for eight years. He was presented Chadron States Distinguished Service Award in August 1989.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Norma, in 2012. Survivors include their daughter, Annette; her husband, Paul Bednar; a grandson; a granddaughter; and a great-grandchild, all of Jonesboro.