People passing Gibb’s Ranch would hardly look at it twice, and few would suspect that it is an important part of the SHSU campus. Even though it is located just 10 minutes from campus, many students are unaware that Gibb’s Ranch even exists.
However, the natural terrain, flat and dotted with ponds and streams, makes it a perfect environment for many campus activities.
Many SHSU programs and departments, including ROTC, Agriculture, and the women’s basketball team, use the 1,740-acre Gibb’s Ranch.
It had been a notable ranch in Walker County for many decades, when it was owned by rancher and businessman William Gibbs. Following his death, it was leased to local ranchers for 10 years. In 1993, it was deeded to SHSU by the Sam Houston Foundation, and was first used by the SHSU Department of Agricultural Sciences, where it took the place of Agriculture Center Farm and Country Campus, which had recently been sold. The ranch was renovated by the Agriculture Department upon purchasing.
With the help of university funding, the department built a classroom and purchased cattle.
The ranch was later put to use by the SHSU Ranger Company, who built an obstacle course, Schuder’s Queen, to use for training.
The ROTC now uses the ranch for field training every week.
According to ROTC students, the ranch provides a perfect atmosphere for their training.
“It’s a benefit to us to have a place like that. Not many campuses have that,” said Matt Frost, who is the Ranger Company commander.
The upkeep of the ranch is maintained, in part, by students.
“Gibbs is very essential to many of the things that we do as a Battalion,” said Janie Salazar, a member of ROTC and the Ranger Company. “The seniors and the Cadre all contribute to the work that is necessary to maintain our training areas in good condition.”
The ranch is also still used by the Agriculture Department, which uses its facilities for conducting agricultural result demonstration projects. It is also a source of income for them, through livestock enterprises, which are also the ranch’s primary source of revenue. Gibb’s Ranch has also been used as a site for research projects by the Biology and Chemistry Department, as well as being used for various other university purposes.
Although the ranch took many years to renovate, as well as a fair-sized amount of university money, no one could say it has not been worth it.