Dr Janie Park, the first woman to serve as president of Chadron State College, has died. She passed away Tuesday, June 28, 2023, in Billings, MT, at age 76.
Park served as CSC’s 10th President from 2005 to 2012 and brought a calm demeanor and a steady hand when the college experienced bizarre circumstances, including a wildfire in 2006 that threatened campus and the city of Chadron.
Outgoing CSC President Dr Randy Rhine followed Park to CSC from Montana State-Billings and worked together with her for most of 17 years. Rhine calls her “a great mentor and a dear friend, whom I will miss.”
As president, Park led Chadron State to enrollment increases after several down years and its first-ever comprehensive capital campaign while shepherding the college’s sustainable fuel efforts while improving the campus landscape.
She also oversaw major changes and improvements to the school’s two oldest facilities. Old Admin became a strictly academic building after nearly a century of also housing much of the administration, while Sparks Hall was expanded from a small residence hall to the new primary administration building.
When she retired, Parks said “The past 7 years have been, without exception, an honor and a privilege to serve this great college, and I’ll miss you all more than I can express.”.
Park came to CSC after 12 at Montana State-Billing. She was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 3 years, then spent 9 years as a professor of biological science while serving as provost and academic vice chancellor with a $20-million dollar budget.
At Billings, she managed six colleges, the honors program, academic support services, graduate studies, distance delivery and telecommunications, continuing education, and several university centers.
She was also responsible for academic assessments as well as faculty and staff evaluations while serving on the collective bargaining team for the faculty unions.
Park began her career as a professor at the College of Science and Liberal Arts at the Florida Institute of Technology at Melbourne, then began her move into administration by serving 3 years as its associate dean.
A memorial service for close family members will be scheduled at a later date. Park is survived by her husband Tom, sons Eric and Chris, and three grandchildren.