Four families with a tradition of attending Chadron State College received special recognition during the institution’s annual Family Day celebration Saturday, Sept. 22.
The awards are presented annually to families with three or more generations of CSC graduates. The families will be honored during a private luncheon in the Student Center that precedes the Eagles’ football game against Western State. The Gillett family is one of the four families to be honored.
The Gillett family, which has had at least 20 members enroll at Chadron State, has lineage in northwest Nebraska that goes back to its 1880s family homestead on the Table area south of Chadron. Two members of the family, brothers Wallace and Steven Gillett, sent their children to the Nebraska State Normal School at Chadron.
Wallace and Mary Gillett’s son, Rowland Hill Gillett entered the institution in September 1911, shortly after it was founded. He later married Harriet Dickerson, a school teacher who would earn a bachelor’s degree from Chadron State College at age 60 in the same ceremony that their son LaVern earned a master’s degree.
Other members of the first generation were Jerome Canning Gillett, Wendell Lynde Gillett, Roger Wallace Gillett, Fisher Schuyler Gillett and Alzina Luella Gillett. Agnes Gillett, the daughter of Steven and Fannie Gillett also is among the CSC alumni.
The first Gilletts to attend the institution went on to use their educations in a variety of ways, including agriculture, service on local school boards, and teaching a variety of subjects, including science and art. Several were accomplished musicians.
Six of Rowland and Harriet’s 13 children, and/or their spouses, were among the family’s second generation to attend CSC.
In addition to LaVern, who now lives in Lincoln, they are Phyllis Elsie (Gillett) and Orlando S. “Landy” “Slim” Osborn of Chadron, Robert Harry “Bob” Gillett of Lincoln, the late Willa Caroline Gillett, and Terence “Terry” and Phyllis Kay (Masters) Gillett of Harrison, Richard W. Davis, the husband of daughter Norie, also graduated.
Others family members who attended CSC are Ellen Gillett of Grant, the daughter of Wendell and Emma Gillett, and the children of Alzina–Elsie Marie Coleman, Rose Coleman, Ernest Coleman Jr., John Coleman and Ruth Coleman.
The third and fourth generation to attend CSC includes a nephew and niece of the Osborns, Tony Elbert Lutz of Benkelman, and Brittney Lutz of Oshkosh.