Nevada State College President Highlights Record-Breaking Achievements in State of the College Address

Nevada State College President Bart Patterson delivered the annual State of the College address on Tuesday, Sept. 22 where he detailed the impressive and dramatic growth the college is seeing despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as initiatives for the upcoming Legislative Session.

In the last five years, Nevada State College’s student population more than doubled and the campus has grown in size from 70,000 square feet to 270,000 square feet. The most recent physical growth includes:

  • Glenn and Ande Christensen School of Education, which is currently under construction, will feature an early childhood education center as well as a Speech Language Pathology lab.
  • First-ever student housing, which was designed to help break barriers to higher education, will be ready for occupancy later this month.
  • A shared health sciences building with the College of Southern Nevada.

However, due to the impressive progress, Nevada State has the highest space deficit in the state, particularly in areas of student study and support spaces, and science labs. To solve that deficit, Nevada State is prioritizing and seeking funding approval for the following projects at the upcoming legislative session:

  • Academic Village – a modular construction design that will lower cost and speed of development which will provide additional science labs, student study areas and support spaces.
  • STEAM Building – a building that will emphasize science, technology, engineering, art and math studies which will help address other critical state workforce needs along with crucial College needs.

The State of the College address also spotlighted the record-breaking Fall 2020 semester as full-time equivalent student enrollment increased by 14 percent – the highest enrollment increase in the state of Nevada as most institutions reported flat enrollment or decreases. This is also the College’s most diverse class which includes:

  • 97 percent increase in African American students
  • 83 percent increase in students joining the campus with a high school GPA of 3.75 and above and the highest ever average entering High School GPA of 3.2.
  • Significant increases in students seeking degrees in visual media, criminal justice and law enforcement, education and biology.
  • A 79% year to year retention rate, the highest in College history

New student support programs were also implemented this year to help increase success in diverse student populations with a special focus on Nevada State’s African American students – similar to programs established for its Latinx student population. This led to the following developments:

  • Collegiate 100 Chapter at Nevada State, the second such chapter in the west, under the auspices of the 100 Black Men organization.
  • Sankofa, a mentorship program aimed to help African American students throughout their college experience.

Patterson also noted the launch of new academic bachelor’s degrees in Bilingual Elementary Education, Human Health Sciences, Early Childhood Education and Interdisciplinary Data Science. The Fall 2020 semester also welcomed the first cohort of students in Southern Nevada’s only Speech Language Pathology Master’s Degree program.

Patterson also announced the award of two President Medals, the highest College honor bestowed on community members based on their extraordinary campus and community engagement. Sherry Colquitt received the award for her long time efforts as a community business leader to support the College and its Foundation including serving on the Foundation Board as Secretary and as Chair of the Committee on Trusteeship. Ken Evans, CEO of the Urban Chamber of Commerce, also received the President’s Medal for his work in the business community and involvement in education and workforce development including serving on the Nevada State College Presidents Advisory Council.

Patterson also gave special acknowledgement to the many efforts of faculty and staff to support the community during the pandemic including building 40,000 viral kits for COVID testing, making 3D mask inserts, donating 30,000 plus masks and gloves to hospitals when personal protective supplies were exhausted and even donating vegetables from the garden to local food banks.

As Patterson finishes the remainder of his presidency at Nevada State College, Patterson noted the fiscal challenges facing higher education and the state and intends to focus his efforts on building workforce development programs and creative partnerships with businesses on the campus’ 512 acres. He expects this effort will create the foundation for more economic diversification for the State and additional revenue sources to build out Nevada State’s campus facilities and programs. He also intends to explore how to better clarify Nevada State’s critical mission and improve Nevada State’s regional competitiveness as a top quality academic institution.

Click here for video of the State of the College address

Nevada State College President Plans to Retire Next Year

In a letter sent to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Chancellor and Board of Regents on Tuesday, March 3, Nevada State College President Bart Patterson announced he does not plan to seek renewal of his contract. Effective June 30, 2021, Patterson will step down after leading the college for nearly 10 years as its seventh and longest-serving president.

“Serving as president of Nevada State and helping build its remarkable trajectory has been the job of a lifetime, and I am grateful for the opportunity to make such a difference in the lives of students,” said Patterson. “While many community leaders and staff have urged me to stay longer, I believe Nevada State is the kind of institution that will benefit from changes in leadership and vision from time to time.”

Patterson took over as interim president in November 2011 and was officially appointed president in April 2012. Following the economic recession, and discussions of closing the college, Patterson led the institution through tremendous growth, with a 72 percent increase in freshmen in 2017 alone. Continually recognized as the second-fastest growing college in the United States, Nevada State now has more than 5,500 students, the majority of whom are diverse and first-generation. Patterson has established the top priorities of the college to continue building high quality, affordable academic programs that boost the economy of Nevada, increase the success of the institution’s deserving and diverse students, grow its statewide mission, and identify partnerships to creatively build out its 512-acre site in collaboration with the city of Henderson.

The announcement comes in the midst of incredible success for the college—including: the groundbreaking of the Glenn and Ande Christenson School of Education Building, which will house a community-serving early childhood education center and speech-language pathology clinic; the construction of the shared Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences Building with the College of Southern Nevada on its Henderson Campus; the launch of the college’s first graduate program offering a master’s degree in speech-language pathology; the construction of the college’s first on-campus student housing, set to open fall 2020; the Association of College and Research Libraries selecting Nevada State’s Marydean Martin Library for the 2020 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award, the first academic library in Nevada and only the second public institution in the award’s history to receive the award; and the announcement from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities that it reaffirmed the college’s institutional accreditation for the next seven years.

“I have many important projects to accomplish in my last 15 months,” said Patterson. “I am prioritizing those projects to those most critical for the continued success of the institution. It is my intent to stay through the next legislative session, introduce the new president to legislative and executive leadership, and help mentor the new president if requested.”

At the end of his tenure, Patterson will have worked more than 20 years in the Nevada System of Higher Education. Before serving as Nevada State’s president, Patterson served as NSHE’s chief counsel until August 2006 and as the vice chancellor of administrative and legal affairs through September 2009. He also served as NSHE’s first general counsel at the Community College of Southern Nevada and at Nevada State College, where he taught as an adjunct instructor in public policy. Prior to joining NSHE, he was in the private practice of law in Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Click here to read the announcement letter.