In its long history, Kansas State University has seen its fair share of changes and challenges. From several name changes, enrollment numbers increasing to 1,700 times their original and a significant number of building fires, K-State has a long and rich history.
1863: The university is founded under the name Kansas State Agricultural College, and remains under this name until 1931. Total number of students enrolled in college classes was 14.
1863: Joseph Denison becomes first university president. He served until 1873.
1873: John Alexander Anderson becomes the second university president. He served until 1879.
1875: The engineering shops, now in Seaton Court, are completed. It was renamed Seaton Court in 1977 following several expansions and remodels. This structure is still standing and is the oldest structure on campus.
1875: The university’s first newspaper is printed on April 24. It was called “The Industrialist” and was published “every collegiate Saturday.” It cost 2 cents an issue or 75 cents a year. Articles in the first publication included “Forage Plants in Kansas. No. 1″ by professor E.M. Shelton and “Boiled Down,” a list of 38 one-liners on various topics taken from other publications. Most articles were written by professors.
1876: Holtz Hall is completed. It served as the chemical laboratory, women’s gymnasium and mathematics hall over time. It is now home to Career and Employment Services and is the oldest free-standing building on campus.
1879: The north wing of Anderson Hall is completed. It was initially called the Practical Agriculture building and was considered the main building on campus for many years. Through time, the hall held a chapel, recreation center, canteen, barber shop, classrooms and a library.
1879: George Thompson Fairchild becomes the third university president. He served until 1897.
1882: The center portion of Anderson Hall is completed. The Bluemont Bell, originally owned by Bluemont College (previous education institution to K-State) was relocated to Anderson Hall. It rang to signal the start and end of classes.
1884: The south wing of Anderson Hall is completed. It was still called the Practical Agriculture building.
1894: Fairchild hall is completed. It was once a library and science hall.
1896: The first student newspaper on campus, “The Students’ Herald,” is printed.
1897: Thomas Elmer Will becomes the fourth university president. He served until 1899.
1898: Kedzie Hall is completed. It later has an addition built in 1960.
1899: George Washington Owens is the first African-American male to graduate from K-State.
1899: Ernest Rueben Nichols becomes the fifth university president. He served until 1909.
1900: College enrollment surpasses 1,000 with 1,321 students.
1900: Holtz Hall burns. The fire destroys the interior, a large cupola and a row of windows on the roof.
1902: The original Denison Hall, which is no longer standing, is completed. It was the physical science building and was named for former university president Joseph Denison.
1902: Anderson Hall is given its current name after former university president John A. Anderson.
1902: Women’s basketball first appears on campus when females from calisthenics classes play each other. The “Purples” defeat the “Red,” 9-2. Students requested that the faculty allow intercollegiate games, but they were denied.
In the same year, the first men’s basketball college game took place, when K-State lost to Haskell, 60-7. The team didn’t have an official coach until 1905. That same year, they won their first game by defeating Minneapolis High School.
1903: The school’s Alma Mater, written by H.W. Jones, is selected by a campus contest. Jones was an 1888 graduate. It eventually went through some alterations to become what we know it as today.
1903: The second and northwest additions are added to Fairchild Hall.
1904: Holtz Hall is renovated following the 1900 fire.
1906: For three years, starting in 1906, K-State pride at baseball and football games is lead by a black Labrador named Boscoe.
1908: The south wing of what is now Seaton Hall is completed. Since then it has served as the mechanics hall, mechanical engineering hall, mechanical arts building and engineering building.
1909: The printing operations for campus publications is moved to Kedzie Hall, where “The K-State Collegian” and “Royal Purple” yearbook are today.
1909: Henry Jackson Waters becomes the sixth university president. He served until 1917.
1911: Nichols Gymnasium, now called Nichols Hall, is completed.
1913: The student newspaper “The Students’ Herald” is briefly changed to “The Kansas Aggie.”
1914: The first issue of the Kansas State Collegian is printed on April 25, replacing “The Kansas Aggie.”
1915: K-State fans and students are officially “Wildcats.” Fans and students were previously called “Aggies.” It wasn’t until 1915 that they were called Wildcats, when coach Chief Bender coined the name due to the squad’s “fighting spirit.”
1918: William Marion Jardine becomes the seventh university president. He served until 1925.
1920: Ray Watson is the first K-State Olympian to place in the Olympics, placing seventh in the steeplechase. Over 20 K-Staters have since competed in the Olympic games. Interesting fact: Watson only had one hand. He lost the other in a shotgun accident at the age of 14.
1922: As early as 1922, K-State fans show their pride with a real “wildcat” named Touchdown.
1923: The west wing of Memorial Stadium is complete. The east wing is completed the following year. It was built as a memorial to honor those who died in World War I.
1923: The president’s house, in it’s current location, is completed.
1925: Francis David Farrell becomes the eighth university president. He served until 1943.
1931: The university changes its name from Kansas State Agricultural College to Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. The name is held until 1959.
1934: Denison Hall burns on Aug. 3. According to Hale Library records, the chemicals in the building increased the fire and caused a pyrotechnic sight that “reminded onlookers of a volcano.” The original Denison Hall’s purpose was replaced by Willard Hall in 1939.
1943: Milton Stover Eisenhower becomes the ninth university president. He serves until 1950.
1946: Burt Hall, completed in 1923 and formerly known as the Veterinary Science Hall, had a fire on Feb. 19. It was later named for Dr. James H. Burt in 1958.
1947: Wille the Wildcat is first created. His original look was a far cry from today’s mascot. The first appearance was at the football game against Oklahoma A&M; in September.
1948: K-State men’s basketball makes their first appearance in the NCAA tournament under Jack Gardner. They reached the final four before losing to Baylor. The success and popularity of basketball eventually led to Ahearn Field House being constructed.
1950: James Allen McCain becomes the tenth university president. He served until 1975.
1952: Enrollment reaches 5,030 students.
1956: The K-State Student Union is completed. Renovations were completed in 1962, 1970, 1996 and 2000.
1959: The university’s official name is changed to Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science.
1960: Denison Hall is rebuilt and renamed for first university president Joseph Denison.
1965: College enrollment tops 10,000 with 10,681 students.
1965: The iconic Bluemont Bell, which had been located in Anderson Hall, is replaced by an electric carillon. The Bluemont Bell was only rung once more, when university president Milton Eisenhower died in 1985.
1966: A tornado damages Jardine Terrace Apartment Complex.
1968: Following a fire in Nichols Gymnasium (now Nichols Hall), the “Wabash Cannon Ball” becomes an integral part of K-State spirit. As one of the only pieces of music band director Phil Hewett had at home at the time of the fire, it took center stage at the basketball game only three days afterwards.
1968: Women’s basketball is added as an intercollegiate sport. Judy Akers became the first head coach and left K-State with a record of 206-94.
1975: Duane Acker becomes the eleventh president of the university. He serves until 1986.
1980: Anderson Hall is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
1985: Nichols Hall is rebuilt following the 1968 fire.
1986: Jon Wefald is appointed as the university president. He served until 2009.
1989: Enrollment surpasses 20,000 with 20,110 students.
1991: The College of Technology and Aviation is founded at Salina. The school continues to offer education in the field of engineering technology and aviation.
1993: Anderson Hall is threatened by fire when a tower on the south wing is struck by lightening. Craig Goodman, a student working in a nearby building, saw the flames and reported the fire. Fire damage was minimal, but water caused over $1 million in damage.
1995: The original Bluemont Bell is brought out of storage and installed outside Bluemont Hall, where it stands today.
1998: The president’s house undergoes expansion and renovation.
2004: Denison Hall is demolished to allow for the expansion of Hale Library.
2008: Part of campus, and Manhattan, are damaged by an EF4 tornado causing more than $20 million dollars in damage.
2009: Kirk Schulz becomes the thirteenth university president. He continues to serve today.
2010: The Leadership Studies Building opens in January, becoming the first LEED certified environmentally “green” building on campus.
2010: The university unveils the 2025 plan to launch K-State into the Top 50 Research University list by 2025.
2011: K-State opens a third campus in Olathe focused on graduate level students in the biosciences and biotechnology.
2013: K-State celebrates 150 years of success.
Information and photos from:
University Archives (www.lib.ksu.edu/depts/spec/exhibits/anderson-hall.html), Special Collections, Kansas State University