Northeastern Junior College 2023-2024 Catalog



Northeastern is a two-year public community college and became one of 14 community colleges in the Colorado Community College and Occupational Education System in July 1997.

Northeastern is located at the north edge of Sterling, the Logan County seat, 125 miles northeast of Denver on Interstate Highway 76, U.S. Highways 6 and 138, and Colorado Highway 14.

Sterling is a city of approximately 14,000 residents, characterized by strong business, cultural, and professional interests. Anchoring a plains area of primarily agricultural, it provides a trade, education, and health center for a population of more than 50,000.

Primary resources include extensive cattle and wheat operations and dry land and irrigated farming with some production from shallow oil deposits. Sterling also hosts the largest institution operated by the Colorado Department of Corrections.

The history of Northeastern is detailed in challenges, which individuals accepted singly, and in groups to provide this opportunity for continuing education. The college opened in the spring of 1941 because of joint planning and activity by educational leaders and interested citizens.

Formal history began when five members of District No. 12 Board of Education and the Logan County High School Committee filed articles of incorporation as private citizens. At an organizational meeting on May 8, 1941, they selected the following members of the Board of Regents: C. Reeder Phillips, President; Bailey S. Jamison, Vice-President; Dr. James H. Jackson, Secretary; Harold R. Whyman, Treasurer; and H. B. Swedlund, member.

Planners had the benefit of a careful study of junior colleges in Colorado and adjoining states and the strong support of representatives of communities from throughout northeast Colorado, publicly expressed at a mass meeting held in March 1941. Sixty students from 17 northeastern Colorado communities enrolled on September 8, 1941, when the first classes opened as an extension of the public school system. In 1941, before the first classes began, the college received assurances from four-year institutions of higher learning in Colorado guaranteeing the transfer of credits.

A continuing interest has reinforced the values of continuity and initiative as the college has grown. In October 1944, voters of Logan County approved tax support and a junior college district, coextensive with Logan County, was organized under Colorado law providing for the establishment of junior colleges.

The Board of Regents became the Junior College Committee, and shortly thereafter, the school's name became Sterling Junior College.

In 1945, the College Committee purchased a separate 15-acre parcel anchored by the building known as Smith Hall, which was demolished in 1997. Subsequent land additions have brought the total main campus to 25 acres. A 34-acre north campus addition acquired in December 1961 is available for further development of the physical plant. In the fall of 1999, the college acquired an Ag farm for instructional and lab purposes.

The names of two facilities recognize the early and continued contribution of Superintendent of Schools Robert R. Knowles and Principal Charles F. Poole. As Chief Administrative Officer, Mr. Poole served as dean until the College Committee changed the title to the president in 1947. When Poole resigned in 1948, Ervin S. French joined the staff as dean; the title changed to the president when the college administration separated from the public school system in 1953.

In 1950, the college's name changed from Sterling Junior College to Northeastern to reflect a larger service area. Since then, there has been continuing close association with the home community. The years have brought further expansion of the service area, increasing state aid and other sources of financial support.

In 1963, after noting the expanded geographical area to which students transfer, Northeastern filed a comprehensive faculty self-study report as an application for accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Membership, with accreditation as a two-year college, occurred on April 7, 1964.

Northeastern has offered terminal and vocational programs from its beginning. In recent years, it has received regional and national acclaim for piloting new career and technical programs and inviting industries to cooperate with public school superintendents for occupational programs at both the secondary and post-secondary levels on campus or in neighboring communities.

In November 1996, the voters of Logan County voted to terminate the Logan County tax levy for the college incrementally over three years, thus paving the way for entry into the State System of Community Colleges on July 1, 1997.

Purchased in 2019, the Yuma Campus opened in January 2020 and is committed to providing post-secondary education opportunities to residents of Yuma, CO, and surrounding communities. The addition of this campus enables residents to complete their high school education with a GED, take courses to learn English as a second language, and deliver transferable credit-bearing courses in a variety of subjects. Students can attend certain courses taught on the main Sterling campus via a virtual classroom. For more information, visit