The University of Kansas

A History

Clifford Griffin

Here is a through assessment of the development of the University of Kansas during its first century. Clifford S. Griffin traces the University from little more than a high school or preparatory school to a college, and then to a major institution. No mere chronicle of the University's triumphs and progress, this book gives equal attention to the many disappointments and frustrations over the years. Griffin concerns himself not only with the physical growth of the institution, but with the nature of the University's goals and character as well.

From John Fraser to W. Clarke Wescoe, each Chancellor of the University of Kansas faced unique problems in shaping the destiny of the ever-expanding institution. They struggled with the perils of an unstable economy, enrollment crises, departmentalization, disagreements with faculty and regents, disputes over open admission and the importance of scholarly research, demands for higher salaries and alteration of the curriculum, and even grasshopper plagues. Each administration competed for legislative appropriations, status, and public support.

“This is a book for the record, one every University of Kansas alumnus should own.”

Manhattan Mercury

“For those who want to know how a university was born, how it survived and thrived on the prairie, how the politicians and the professors interacted, how educational fads congealed into clichés, how the chancellors postured, orated, and appealed, how the teachers practiced mutual karate and how a preparatory academy became an institution of distinction, this is the book.”

Salina Journal
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Anyone who has been associated with the University will find in this history many of the things he remembers best: its social organizations, athletic contests, student pranks, class feuds, and campus politics. Colorful Mount Oread personalities are described—leaders, scholars, politicians, and benefactors. Thirty-six photographs trace different phases of the University's growth. Even those individuals well informed concerning the history of the University will learn much about its past and its potential for the future.

In addition, Griffin explores ideas about the purposes and practices of higher education, including the concept of the American state university as a servant of society. In many respects the development of the University paralleled the growth of the state itself; this book is therefore a valuable contribution to the cultural and intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Kansas.