Iowa is home to three great public universities, a lot of acclaimed private colleges, and numerous community colleges. They all serve as hubs of economic development and as places where the next generation of Iowa's leaders, employers, and employees are gaining valuable skills. They all have rich histories, terrific traditions, and instill a sense of significant pride in their esteemed alumni.
Iowa is also home to a couple of other Universities, which may not actually have true campuses, of sorts, but are still home to a lot of great activities and alumni. One of which is the University of Okoboji which is at Iowa's Great Lakes. The other is Stanhope State University in the tiny but mighty community of Stanhope in Hamilton County.
Stanhope State University? Huh? You've never heard of this until reading this post? I'd encourage you to read about it's rich history.
Iowa Adventurer was invited up to Stanhope on Saturday by Grant Young, the President of the Board of Governors of Stanhope State University. The Watermelon Warriors were celebrating their homecoming with a tailgate, king and queen coronation, and a visit from College Game Day.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to be part of the College Game Day hosting along with Tim Flattery of the Moonlight Graham Podcast.
The blustery weather and the later harvest probably put a bit of a damper on the overall turnout. However, it was still a great day of events. The homecoming festivities were held on the big grass lot next to the Stanhope emergency services station.
There were a lot of great tailgaters who had some great set-ups and food.
There were games and fun activities for the kids.
Even Jody Whitworth Long of WHO-TV showed up to do an interview.
One of the school's sororities and fraternities showed up with a parade float.
There was some great live music from one of the notable alums.
The College Game Day set was set up on the back of a trailer.
It was an honor to host the show with Tim from Moonlight Graham podcast. We interviewed several guests and talked a lot about the University, the community, and the football games. Thanks to Hamilton Hometowns for the two photos below.
The community economic development group had a tent and was offering food and other items for a free-will donation.
The Stanhope State University Campus Book Store and Supply also had merchandise for sale.
Their was an online vote for Homecoming Queen and King and over 5000 votes were cast. Congratulations to the new royalty - long live the king and queen!
I thought I would check out some of the other hot spots in the community before heading back south on Highway 17. Stanhope is truly a great "college town". This resident has a lot of great Halloween décor mixed with Stanhope State pride.
There are many modest homes in well kept neighborhoods.
Of course, this is predominately a farming community and so there is a large co-op.
Highway 17 goes through town and it also serves as the road where a lot of the commercial businesses are located.
The Stanhope Locker is a locally famous spot.
I'm also told that "Our Place" is a great spot to enjoy a meal. I'll have to stop by again in the future.
I spotted a couple of nice churches.
There is a nice city park with a good variety of amenities.
I also found a post office, community center, medical clinic, fitness center, and a bank.
There's also a great Sinclair Sparkys, which I have frequented on many occasions.
Some of you might scoff at the idea of going "all-in" on a fake University. However, this town and it's network of former residents have largely bought in and it has become something of a source of pride and fun. Trust me, there are a lot of other communities of this size that could benefit from this kind out-of-the-box thinking. I wish the Watermelon Warriors and the University many happy and successful years into the future.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Hamilton County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you would wish to host the Iowa Adventurer or have a good idea, please drop me a note through my website.