On October 8, 2010, the Rural Telegraph began its life as a quirky blog about a small, hard-working group of students, staff, and faculty who would soon move into old Leasure Hall at KSU — the original veterinary science building (complete with a large-animal dissection table in a basement lab)! We used discarded furniture and a bulky, antique microfilm machine. It was my privilege to be part of this adventure, Chapman Center for Rural Studies: a research initiative in the department of history.
Now, CCRS is part of the College of Arts and Sciences and a nationally-recognized and award-winning undergraduate research center. From the rural history of Kansas to a broader focus on interdisciplinary projects about the region, the Center has grown steadily and creatively. We have gone digital in a big way, attracted many donors in addition to our founding donor, Mark Chapman, successfully secured national grants and recently, won a major university engagement award. This growth has been spearheaded by our director, Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, who has shaped Chapman Center’s new identity quite amazingly. Bonnie does not give up. If one door will not open, she finds another one (and sometimes kicks it open)!
As for me…I have loved every single minute I spent with keen, motivated undergraduate researchers. I have crawled under barbed wire fences with some, driven hundreds of miles on unmarked dirt roads of Kansas, led over 80 field trips to remote sites, sped away from an irate squatter with a shotgun (the truth!), hauled out corner stones from spider-infested church basements, encountered a seriously angry bull in a supposedly empty pasture….and basically, had the time of my life.
Thank you, dear students and interns. I’ll miss you all more than I can say. But I’m off to new research frontiers (aka retirement) in Wisconsin. My KSU email address will be the same, so please stay in touch with your always-interested research director!