Charles P. “Chuck” Schroeder, a native of southwestern Nebraska ranch country near the rural community of Palisade, will be recognized as the newest University of Nebraska–Lincoln Block and Bridle honoree. Each year the Block and Bridle Club selects an honoree that has contributed to Nebraska agriculture through leadership, service, youth projects, community activities and involvement with the university.
As you peruse Chuck Schroeder’s biography, it becomes quite evident that Chuck is a servant leader and a person with wide-ranging knowledge and broad interests. Schroeder’s career has closely aligned with the Block and Bridle Club’s core objectives, which are; 1) to promote a higher scholastic standard and a more complete understanding of Animal Science among student members; 2) to promote animal agriculture through development of a program of activities that will supplement students' study of the animal sciences; 3) to enhance professionalism of students who will one day be leaders in the animal agriculture industry; and 4) to bring about a closer relationship among all students pursuing some phase of animal agriculture as a profession.
Schroeder graduated from UNL (1973) with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in Animal Science. During his time at UNL, Schroeder was a member of the Block and Bridle Club and participated on the livestock judging team and the UNL rodeo team. Upon graduating from UNL, Schroeder returned to his family’s farming, ranching and cattle feeding enterprise, the Schroeder Cattle Company. However, Schroeder’s passion to serve the cattle industry and agriculture lead him on a diverse and distinguished path in servant leadership roles. Leadership roles that Schroeder assumed included serving as the Director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (1983-1986), Executive Vice-President of the University of Nebraska Foundation (1986-1995), Chief Executive Officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (1995-2002), President of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (2002-2013), and founder and Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska (2013-2018).
Over the course of his career, Schroeder has received multiple awards and recognitions including, for example: Oklahoma Humanities Council Community Leadership Award, the National Cowboy Symposium Western Museum Award, the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Alumnus Award, the Ak-Sar-Ben Agricultural Achievement Award, and inclusion in “Who’s Who in the Western Livestock Industry.” Schroeder was also selected for participation in the Gallup Premier Leadership Institute and Stanford University’s Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders.
In the words of those that contributed to Schroeder’s nomination, several quotes capture the essence of Schroeder’s contributions:
- “Chuck was as comfortable in the boardroom as he was in the bunkhouse.”
- “…..an accomplished artist, and his passion for riding quarter horses and roping has been part of his life for decades.”
- “Chuck is widely known and highly respected across the livestock industry, and he has been a spokesman for the cattle industry at the local, state, and national levels….. he has had a life-long passion for contributing to and improving the cattle industry in Nebraska…..Chuck has mentored and encouraged numerous young men and women that have gone on to have successful careers in the livestock industry.”
- “…a leader with futuristic vision and commitment to both our younger generation and rural communities….a gift to motivate and inspire young college students to excel in leadership”
- “…..a champion for our youth, leadership, the beef industry, rural communities, and higher education.”
Currently, and upon his retirement from an extremely impactful tour as the founding director of the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska in 2018, Schroeder is currently engaged in “creative pursuits around art and telling the stories of elders from various cultures, which (he) believes should have an important impact on our world going forward.” Schroeder’s latest pursuit exemplifies the polymathic nature of his career as a “competing cowboy, ranch manager, livestock judge, politician, fund raiser, fist shaking activist, industry organization CEO, chief executive of a major art and cultural museum, and founder of several organizations championing the interests of rural people and communities.”
Schroeder and his family (wife, Kathi, and daughter, Dr. Lindsay Hastings and family) were honored at the Block and Bridle Club Honors Banquet on April 13th, 2019
The Block and Bridle Club is part of the Animal Science Department within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at UNL.