Founded by New England immigrants who relocated to Kansas Territory, KU became the first university in the Great Plains in 1866.
The University of Kansas was founded in 1866 under charter from the Kansas Legislature. The university’s mascot is the Jayhawk, which comes from the Civil War term Jayhawker. A Jayhawker was a Free State Kansan who fought during the border war between Kansas and Missouri known as "Bleeding Kansas.
This conflict between Kansas and Missouri has carried over into the present: the rivalry between the Kansas and Missouri basketball and football teams is known as the Border War. Basketball was invented at the University of Kansas by Dr. James Naismith during the winter of 1891 as a way to keep football and rugby players active during the off season.
The KU campus is built on a mountain, so although students complain about the daily uphill treks, the workouts help them keep off that dreaded freshman 15. With 1,000 acres of beautiful buildings and lawns on Mount Oread, campus is a gorgeous oasis for college students.
Wesco Beach- The area in front of Wesco Hall known as Wesco Beach is a popular hangout because of its proximity to the most-traveled building on campus. Almost every student at the University of Kansas will have a class in Wesco at some point. On any given day a student may see performance artists staging final projects, campus evangelists trying to save souls, Student Senate candidates trying to secure votes and any number of musicians playing for their enjoyment. Wesco Beach is also home to a carnival at the beginning of the academic year.
The Underground- Undergrads who are on campus, on the move and in need of food will pass through the Underground for a fast meal. Located under Wesco Hall, the Underground provides students with Chinese food, Chik -Fil-A , sushi, a small deli and a coffee bar. During lunchtime, seating is hard to come by, but the Underground also boasts a spacious outdoor seating area during the fall and spring.
The Studio- The Studio is a combination coffeehouse, deli, and convenience store serving the residents of Daisy Hill. The Studio is located at the south end of Hashinger Residence Hall. In all seasons, the studio plays host to live music, with bands performing outside in the fall and spring and inside the coffee bar during winter. The Studio's hours of operation compliment those of the main dining common on Daisy Hill, Mrs. E's: when the dining common isn't open, the Studio is.
The Student Fitness and Recreation Center- The Rec, as it is most commonly referred to, is the main gym and fitness center on campus. The Rec has a large free weight area, dozens of ellipticals, treadmills and stair step machines. There are currently four basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a rock wall, a raised quarter-mile track and showers. The Rec is undergoing an addition that will house additional basketball courts, track and free weight space, as well as more showers.
The Union- The Kansas Union, or the Union as it is known among students, is the central hub of the University of Kansas. The Union has multiple dining centers and restaurants, a bowling alley, and a number of conference rooms. On the weekends, the Union hosts movies, cosmic bowling, and guest speakers.
The University of Kansas is located atop 1,037-foot Mount Oread between the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers. Lawrence, KS is a quintessential college town, supportive of its college and bursting with amenities for students.
The city of Lawrence is a great college town with about 80,000 residents. We have an amazing downtown with fantastic restaurants, and fun stores, and plenty of places to grab cheap pizza. As a student, I feel safe walking through any part of Lawrence alone at night. Overall, the campus is beautiful and the city of Lawrence is a great place to call home.
Java Break- Java Break is a 24-hour coffeehouse and a very popular study spot. The staff is friendly and will quickly learn your name and your favorite drink after only a few visits. Their muffins and cupcakes are delicious and Java Break provides free wireless internet access.
The Bottleneck- The Bottleneck is one of Lawrence's most popular weekend hotspots. On Thursday nights, the Bottleneck comes alive with a weekly dance party where their in-house DJs provide some of the best dance music on offer in Lawrence. On Friday and Saturday nights, the Bottleneck hosts live acts.
Aimee's Coffee House- Aimee's Coffee House is one of the most laidback places you can find in Lawrence. The coffee is superb and the “almost fudge brownies” are so decadent that most customers are satisfied to eat half and take the rest home with them. Almost every Tuesday night, Aimee's hosts an open mic where many of Lawrence's poets and prose writers come to bare their souls, share their thoughts, and make their audience laugh. Anyone interested in writing or a good cup of Joe should check this place out.
Clinton Lake- For the outdoorsmen and women who decide to attend The University of Kansas, Clinton Lake is just a short drive from campus. Clinton Lake contains campgrounds, hiking paths, and fishing opportunities for anyone looking to take advantage of the beautiful setting. There are also fire pits for those who just want to come out for an evening to socialize with friends and roast marshmallows.
The biggest tradition at KU is the singing of the Rock Chalk Chant. “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” and the accompanying “waving of the wheat” arm sway will be performed thousands of times during a student’s college tenure.
As reported by our campus rep:
"The most notable unofficial campus tradition at the University of Kansas is swimming in the Chi-Omega fountain at the start of spring. Students who live across Lawrence will travel to the Chi-O fountain dressed in only their bathing suits (and sometimes less) to take part in this tradition. Since the weather in Kansas is so unpredictable, the date of this event varies.
If you travel 165 miles to the east you will reach Colombia, Missouri. Colombia is home to the University of Kansas' biggest rival, the University of Missouri. Every year KU and MU compete in a football game known as the Border War."
Stewart Bailey (1989) is the producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Scott Bakula (1977) starred in the sci-fi shows Quantum Leap and Star Trek.
Bob Dotson (1968) is a correspondent for NBC’s Today Show.
Don Johnson (1971) was the retro crime fighter in Miami Vice.
Paul Rudd (1991) has appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Friends, Clueless, and Wet Hot American Summer.
Kansas is well known for its stellar basketball program (2007 NCAA National Champions), and the football program is on the rise too. KU is in Division I of the NCAA and is a member of the Big 12 Conference.
As reported by Peter Soto '11:
"Jayhawk basketball is huge at KU. The Jayhawks are a national powerhouse every year and they always make it to the NCAA tournament. In the past 20 years, the University of Kansas has been a number one seed in the tournament six times. Football has recently become very popular at KU as well; the Jayhawk football team won the Orange Bowl in 2008."
As reported by Doug Brady '11:
"KU has always been known for its basketball team, and we have one of the top teams nearly every year. While our football team has never been as highly regarded, in 2007 we only lost once to Mizzou and went on to win the Orange Bowl. It seems that our football team has turned things around, and now both our basketball and our football are becoming some of the best the NCAA has to offer. One thing is obvious: if you are a sports fan then KU is a great school to be a part of."
The 2002 film About Schmidt was shot at KU.
Thomas Frank attended KU and wrote What's the Matter with Kansas?
Clyde Tombaugh, a graduate of the school and later a professor at KU, discovered Pluto.
Helium was also first isolated at KU in the basement of Bailey Hall.
Teddy Roosevelt once declared the Rock Chalk chant to be one of the best college chants.
There is a sculpture on campus created by Daniel Chester French, who sculpted the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.
-Katherine Leslie ’11 and Doug Brady ’11 contributed reporting
The eight dormitories on campus are pretty standard, with room options ranging from singles to quads. Some buildings are traditional style, with one shared bathroom per hall; some have suite-shared bathrooms; and campus apartments have private rooms and bathrooms.
The major dormitories at KU are Templin Residence Hall, Lewis Residence Hall, Hashinger Residence Hall, McCollum Residence Hall and Ellsworth Residence Hall. Hashinger Hall was renovated during the 2005 academic year and is known as the fine arts dorm. By the end of 2008 each residence hall will be equipped with a card-scanning system for security purposes.
KU’s dorms are located on an area of campus called Daisy Hill, which is located between East and West Campus; from Daisy Hill, one can see the entire campus. It’s only a short walk from Daisy Hill to Allen Field House, the home of the Kansas Jayhawk basketball team. For those interested in the arts, Daisy Hill is also close to the Lied Center, which hosts various concerts, plays, speeches and guest performers.
Every residence hall on Daisy Hill is coed. Each floor is split into a male and female wing, and each wing has its own Resident's Assistant. Rooms range from singles to four-person suites. The community on Daisy Hill is strong and there are often Hill-wide events such as concerts, open mic nights, dance parties, casino nights and sporting events. Daisy Hill also hosts a concert in the spring that thousands of residents and nonresidents attend.