Kansas Colleges, Universities and Higher Education
The public colleges and universities in the State of Kansas are governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. This group of elected officials manages six universities, 19 community colleges, 11 technical schools and colleges and also a municipal university. State-funded University of Kansas, informally known as KU, has the largest student body of all the colleges and universities in the state. Its main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas but there are also several other extension campuses that are located in the capital city of Topeka, Kansas.
One unique fact about Kansas higher education is the fact that the first chartered universities and colleges in the state were all privately-funded in 1858. There were 10 institutions of higher learning that were chartered at the time, but only three of those institutions continue to operate today. It has been determined that the longest-operating university and therefore the oldest university in Kansas is Baker University, which was founded in February 1858. Baker University is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and it is located in Baldwin City, Kansas. It is a small residential school with four main colleges.
The first publicly-funded university was founded in 1863. Kansas State University, which is the second-largest university in the state, is located in Manhattan, Kansas. It is a research university that has one extension campus in Salina, Kansas and another campus in Olathe, Kansas. Kansas State was originally founded under the Morrill Act as an agricultural college, but it has grown to include many other notable academic programs such as architecture, aviation and veterinary medicine. In addition to providing quality academic programs to students, Kansas State is also considered a premier research institution. Much of its research focuses on its long-term interest in agriculture and farming, but professors from Kansas State produce research in a wide variety of areas.
Notable alumni who graduated from Kansas colleges and universities include Nobel Prize Winner Frank Sherwood Rowland, who went to the University of Kansas, William H. Avery, a former Governor of Kansas also is an alumni from the University of Kansas. The President and CEO of the Hershey, Co., John Bilbrey, was a graduate of Kansas State University, as was United States Archivist John Carlin. Another Kansas State Alumni of note is Herbert Dimond, who invented the snooze alarm allowing people across the globe to wake up slowly as they wished.