Hiram Scott College
I first heard of Hiram Scott College in a negative way in 1979, while interviewing at another private school. The president noted that he had not allowed his school to make the mistake of Hiram Scott by using resources to build a campus; instead he had repurposed a group of existing buildings.
Hiram Scott College still has a strong alumni association with an Internet presence. There is also a book entitled The Hiram Scott College, written by former president Dr. Anthony Marinaccio.
In 1964 Parsons College in Fairfield, IA was experiencing great success by using what came to be known as the Roberts Model of higher education, named for Parsons president Millard Roberts. Hiram Scott College was one of a group of new schools, based on that model. Founded in 1964, it was seen as a promising business venture for the town of Scottsbluff, NE, (population 14,000). Business people raised capital to fund the school and began recruited students in the East. They believed that operating costs would be covered by tuition.
Promising a full range of programs leading to B.A and B.S. degrees, the college opened in fall 1965 with 521 students—218 from the Pennsylvania-New jersey-New York area. Enrollment quickly reached 1500 but began to fall off as students sought more curriculum choices. By 1970 H.S.C. discovered that tuition could not keep up with recruiting and operating costs. In December 1970 enrollment had fallen to 642 and a third of the faculty were let go. Ultimately the college went bankrupt and closed in July 1971.
The “What in the World Is a Hiram Scott College?” website notes that tensions existed between local residents (“Townies”) and the out-of-area students called “Scotties,” who were primarily male.
The Lincoln Hotel in downtown Scottsbluff became home to a number of male students in 1965. On the national Register, it now houses senior citizens. (<https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_Hotel_(Scottsbluff,_Nebraska)_from_NW_1.JPG>)
Bricks and Mortar
While, work progressed on the 275-acre campus on a cornfield in northwest Scottsbluff, Hiram Scott College opened in buildings in downtown. Some students were housed in the old Lincoln Hotel, called Park Hall; classes were held in the local theater, a vacated store, the upper floors of a local business, and the armory. Students were shuttled between the cornfield campus and the downtown classes.
In 1974, the buildings and grounds were acquired by the University of Nebraska and converted to their present uses. The college’s main academic building, now known as the J.G. Elliott Building, was converted for use by the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing Western Division. The Student Services Building became the State of Nebraska Office Complex. The dormitories have been removed.
Colors: Blue and Gold
Hiram Scott played football, basketball and baseball. The school was able to attract former Michigan State coach Forrest “Forddy” Anderson to lead the basketball program. Anderson’s first two teams went 12-3 and 19-4. A 6’3” Philadelphian named Richie Moore went from the program to play for the San Diego Rockets.
The football program was in operation for all five seasons of the school’s existence, and never experienced a losing year. Dick Beechner, who coached all five Scots’ seasons, saw his final team go 6-2-1 with an overall record of 26-14-1. Emory Munsey, a cornerback on that last team played six seasons in the NFL as a regular with the Colts. As an independent, Hiram Scott played 25 different schools from 16 states, with New Mexico Highlands University being on the schedule each season. Division I schools Boise State, Northern Arizona and Nevada-Las Vegas appeared on the Scots' schedule.