Kansas State University

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Kansas State University (sometimes referred to as K-State) is an institution of higher learning located in Manhattan, Kansas.


Kansas State University, originally named Kansas State Agricultural College, was founded on February 16, 1863, as a Land Grant institution under the Morrill Act. The school was the first Land Grant college created under the Morrill Act in the country. (Michigan State University claims the mantle of "Pioneer Land Grant college" because it predates Kansas State, but MSU was not desginated a Land Grant institution until later.) K-State is the third-oldest school in the Big 12 Conference.

The institution was initially located on the grounds of the old Bluemont Central College, which was incorporated by the Kansas Territorial legislature in 1858. The university moved to its present site in 1875.

The early years of the institution witnessed debate over whether the college should provide a focussed agricultural education or a full liberal arts education. During this era, the tenor of the school shifted with the tenure of the Presidents. For example, President John A. Anderson (1873-1879) favored a limited education and President George T. Fairchild (1879-1897) favored a classic liberal education. Also during this era, in 1882, the study of home economics originated at Kansas State. The university today offers a full range of majors, but the current President, Jon Wefald, has recently again suggested that the school narrow its focus.

Recent history

The name of the school was changed in 1927 to Kansas State College, and in 1955, after years of student and faculty pleas, the name was changed again, to Kansas State University, to reflect a growing number of graduate programs. From 1950 to 1975, Dr. James McCain served as President of the university. Buildings, including residence halls and a student union, were added to the campus in the 1950s. The 1960s witnessed demonstrations against the war, as at many universities. Enrollment was relatively high through most of the 1970s, but the university endured a downward spiral from approximately 1976 to 1986, when enrollment decreased to 15,500 and a number of faculty resigned. In 1986, Dr. Jon Wefald assumed the presidency of Kansas State University. The university community responded well to Wefald's management style, and enrollment and donations increased under his leadership. Wefald also introduced an innovative student recruitment office, which lured students from all of Kansas and the United States, and expanded the international student program.

Historic buildings

After the school moved to its present location in 1875, Holtz Hall was the first new building erected, in 1876. It is now the oldest free-standing building on campus. The signature building at Kansas State University, Anderson Hall, was erected in three stages between 1877 and 1884. The building, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has housed the University's administrative offices for most of the 20th century.


Kansas State has an official enrollment of 23,182 students for the 2005-2006 school year. The university has 60 academic departments in nine colleges: Agriculture; Architecture, Planning, and Design; Arts and Sciences; Business Administration; Education; Engineering; Human Ecology; Technology and Aviation; and Veterinary Medicine. The well-regarded A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication is located within the college of arts and sciences. The graduate school offers nearly 100 master's degree programs and nearly 50 doctoral programs.

In 1991, the former Kansas Technical Institute in Salina, Kansas was merged with Kansas State University by an act of the Kansas legislature. The College of Technology and Aviation is now located at the Salina campus.

Since 1986, Kansas State has added over 2 million square feet (186,000 m²) of buildings, including a new library, art museum and plant sciences building. Research is conducted at the university in agronomy, biosciences, electrical engineering, food science and the social sciences. K-State has established alumni associations nationwide and regularly ranks exremely high in the percentage of alumni that give donations. Also since 1986, Kansas State ranks first nationally among state universities in its total of Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater, and Udall scholars.

K-State is also known for its distinguished lecture series: Alf Landon Lecture, Lou Douglas Lecture, Huck Boyd Lecture and Dorothy Thompson Civil Rights series.


Main Article: Athletics at Kansas State University

Kansas State's sports teams are called the Wildcats and their colors are royal purple and white. They participate in the NCAA's Division 1A and in the Big 12 Conference. Sports include football, men's basketball, women's basketball, cross country and track, baseball, golf, tennis, rowing, equestrian and volleyball.


Kansas State's men's basketball team began competition in 1902. The program has a long history of success, and has appeared in 22 NCAA basketball tournaments. Kansas State played the University of Kentucky for the national championship in 1951, reached the Final Four four times, the Elite Eight 11 times, and the Sweet Sixteen 16 times. Despite a strong tradition, in recent years the Wildcats have struggled on the court.


Kansas State's football team began play in 1893. Despite some shining moments in the 1920s and 1930s, the school was historically one of the worst programs in the NCAA until 1989, when the athletic department hired Bill Snyder as head coach. Success and high rankings have followed, culminating in a Big 12 Conference championship in 2003.

Distinguished alumni

For athletes, see the relevant section in Athletics at Kansas State University

Main campus buildings

File:KSU Campus.jpg
Northern Campus in October
File:KSU Bluemont Bell and Dickens.jpg
Bluemont Bell and Dickens Hall


  • Willard, Julius Terrass. History of the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. (Manhattan Kansas: Kansas State College Press, 1940)

External links


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