1918 KANSAS AND KANSANS Educational Instutions Part 1

EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

KANSAS UNIVERSITY

The first effort toward founding a college on Mt. Oread was made in 1856. Amos A. Lawrence, of Boston, one of the founders of the Emigrant Aid Society, donated a sum of money for the purpose, and work was started on a building. The enterprise was shortly abandoned because a clear title to the land could not be secured. Early the next year Mr. Lawrence made the gift which later became the original endowment of the Kansas University. This gift was in the form of two notes of $5,000 each, against the Lawrence University of Wisconsin. This donation was placed in the hands of trustees to be used for educational purposes. The Presbyterian Church then undertook to found a "Free State College," and raised some money for the purpose. In 1859 the Legislature gave official sanction to the "University of Lawrence," and a conditional deed was obtained from the town to the present site of North College, where the work had already been begun. The church advanced the building as far as the means would permit, but was unable to complete it on account of the drouth of 1860. In 1861, the Episcopal Church took over the enterprise, secured a new charter under the name of the Lawrence University of Kansas, and continued the work on the building. The foundation and walls of a structure fifty feet square and three stories high were built before the war interfered. In 1863, the conditions of the deed not having been fulfilled, the town of Lawrence took possession of the site and building.

A bill to locate the Kansas University at Manhattan where a church college had already been opened was vetoed by Governor Charles Robinson, in 1861, for political reasons. The Legislature of 1863 located the University at Lawrence on condition that the town would furnish a suitable site of forty acres and $15,000 in money. The committee appointed to take charge of the arrangements in behalf of the state were S. M. Thorp, I. T. Goodnow and Josiah Miller. Miller was the first promoter of the college as a Presbyterian institution. This committee selected the site, and the city of Lawrence secured it for the state by giving Mr. and Mrs. Charles Robinson, in exchange for it, half a block of land south of the North College building, ten acres of land half a mile west of the new building site, and a large cash bonus raised by individual subscriptions. Ten thousand dollars cash was realized from the Amos Lawrence notes, and the balance of $5,000 was raised by notes signed by Lawrence people. About this time the town was devastated by Quantrill, and on account of the poverty which followed, the Legislature of 1864 refunded the money to the signers of the notes.

The legislature divided the University into male and female branches, the female branch to be separate from the college proper and taught exclusively by women. However, the admittance of women to college on any terms was in those days a triumph of liberality, and was secured in Kansas by a very small majority. The general management of the institution was vested in a Board of Regents, on which the following men were the first to serve: Solon O. Thacher, Charles Robinson, James S. Emery, George W. Paddock, Daniel P. Mitchell, Isaac T. Goodnow, R. A. Barker, J. D. Liggett; C. B. Lines, C. K. Holliday, E. M. Bartholow, T. C. Sears, W. A. Starrett and Joseph L. Wever. At the first meeting of the Board, held March 21, 1865, in the Chambers of the Lawrence City Council, the Rev. R. W. Oliver, who had been in charge of the college project for the Episcopalians, was elected Chancellor.

As there were not sufficient funds to build on the University grounds, the Regents decided to obtain the unfinished building on lands in possession of the city of Lawrence. The city agreed to make the property over to the state providing the building should be completed and a college opened by January 1, 1867. In order to do this, the Regents secured what was left of a number of different funds given for the relief of Quantrill raid sufferers. The sums aggregated about $12,000, in exchange for which the Regents agreed to give free education to those children who had been made orphans by the raid. The building was completed and college opened September 12, 1866. The first faculty was as follows: Elial J. Rice, A. M., chair of Mental and Moral Science and Belles-Lettres; David H. Robinson, A. B., chair of Languages; Frank H. Snow, A. M., chair of Mathematics and Natural Science. The salaries of these men were fixed at $1,600 per year. Albert Newman, M. D., was appointed lecturer on Hygiene and Medical Science. He served one year without pay and was then elected to the faculty. Professor Rice was made president of the faculty.

Fifty-five students enrolled the first year, all in the preparatory department. About half were women, but the facilities were so limited that no attempt was made to divide the college into male and female branches, so the University became one of the first institutions in the country where men and women attended the same classes.

Professor Rice resigned in the summer of 1867, and Chancellor Oliver in December of the same year. John Frazer, A. M., was elected Chancellor, made president of the faculty and given the chair of Belles-Lettres. He remained in this capacity until 1874, and had the honor of graduating the first class of four students in 1873.

The enrollment reached 125 the second year, and one hundred and fifty-two the third. Departments were divided and more instructors were added to the faculty. North College was already over-crowded and the Regents felt the urgent necessity of providing more room. To get adequate appropriations from the state at the time was hopeless, and so the matter was urged upon the people of Lawrence. A hasty election was called and bonds to the amount of $100,000 were voted. This was too big a burden, and the city was relieved of it by the state some years later after $90,000 had been paid in interest. With the proceeds of these bonds, a building two hundred and forty-six feet by ninety-eight feet, and containing fifty-four rooms was begun. The sum realized was sufficient to enclose a structure of this size and the Regents depended on the legislature for the money to complete it. In 1872, an appropriation of $50,000 was made. When this had been spent the building was ready for classes, but far from complete. The work went on by means of small appropriations and was finished in 1877.

Dr. James Marvin became Chancellor in 1874 and remained until 1883. In that time the attendance grew from two hundred and seventy-two students to five hundred and eighty-two. The scope of the University was broadened, new departments added and divisions made in departments already established. In 1876 a normal department was opened, and in 1878 a law school under J. W. Green. The sale of lands granted the University by Congress had netted $100,000 up to this time. At the close of Dr. Marvin's chancellorship, an aggregate of one hundred and thirty-nine students had graduated. There were nineteen professors on the faculty.

Joshua Allen Lippincott accepted the chancellorship in 1883. It seemed easier to secure appropriations in his administration. The annual appropriation for current expenses was raised from $30,000 to $75,000. A chemistry building was erected at an expense of $12,000, an engine house costing $16,000, and $50,000 was appropriated to build Snow Hall. This last building was for the use of the department of Natural Science, and for many years it housed the valuable and famous collections of Professor Snow and Professor Dyche. The legislature of 1885 provided for the establishment of a school of pharmacy and the discontinuance of the Normal course. The lower classes of the preparatory were gradually dispensed with until at the close of Lippincott's regime very little of it was left except instruction in foreign languages. There was a consequent raise in scholarship standards, the College was becoming a University. At the time of Lippincott's resignation there were thirty members on the faculty.

The next head of the University was Frank H. Snow, who was elected to the chair of Mathematics and Natural Science in 1866, and had been on the faculty since that time. Chancellor Snow resigned in 1902, completing thirty-six years of continuous service. He started the valuable collections in geology, botany and zoology in 1873, and contributed more than any other one man to the growth and success of the institution. He came to the chancellorship just as the college was emerging from a school, offering everything from common school branches on up, to a University offering complete courses in every department of education.

In 1890, the courses in civil and electrical engineering were separated from the collegiate department and organized into the School of Engineering, and in 1893, a $50,000 building was provided for this department. A chair of Pedagogy was established in 1893, and the faculty increased to fifty-two members. A legacy of $91,618.03, from the estate of William B. Spooner, uncle of Chancellor Snow, came to the University late in 1891, and was used to build the Spooner library, The Kansas University Quarterly, devoted to original research by Faculty and students, began publication in 1892. In 1891 and '92, Prof. Dyche made conspicuous additions to the collection of animals by the capture of one hundred large specimens which he mounted himself and exhibited in the Kansas building at the Chicago Fair. The collection was far ahead of any other similar exhibit in point of taxidermist art.

One of the most important steps in the point of service to the people was the founding of University Extension. For a number of years lectures on different subjects had been given by University professors who gave their time gratuitously whenever called upon. In 1891, regular courses of instruction were offered, consisting of one lecture each week for twelve weeks, to be followed by reading courses. Eight such courses were given the first year, two in Topeka, two in Wichita, one in Olathe, and three in Kansas City. Out of the thousand or more people who heard the lectures, one hundred followed the prescribed reading courses, took the examinations and received University credit. By 1895 the University Extension was reaching four thousand people. It was not fully organized on a correspondence basis, however, until 1909. That year a bulletin was issued offering courses as follows: Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Mining, Surveying, Mechanical Drawing, Highway Construction, History, Political Economy, Political Science, Sociology, Philosophy, Education, Ancient and Modern Languages, Entomology, Botany, Zoology, Geology, Physics, Chemistry, Astronomy, Physiology, Mathematics, Pharmacy and Medicine.

In 1894, a loan fund to assist students was created. The enrollment was now double what it had been when the legislature fixed the annual appropriation for maintenance at $75,000, and the college was greatly handicapped for funds. The condition was relieved somewhat in 1895 by raising the amount to $100,000 annually. A post graduate course was offered for the first time in 1896. The recognition of the first year medical work of the Kansas University by the Illinois Board of Health about this time, led to enlarging the course, and in the establishment of a complete Medical School in 1899. A Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Mines was added at this time. A disastrous fire which damaged the boiler-house and machine shops to the extent of $30,000 resulted in the installation of ample fire protection. An engineering and shop building had been provided for the private gift of $21,000 by Mr. Geo. A. Fowler, and in 1899 the legislature made an appropriation for a much needed chemistry building.

The old claim which the Emigrant Aid Society had against the government for the destruction of Lawrence property, by Sheriff Jones in May, 1856, had been assigned to the University, and in 1901 the legislature directed that the proceeds should be used to build a gymnasium. It was paid a few years later and the building erected. The valuable collections gathered by Professors Snow and Dyche at a cost to the state of less than a tenth of their value had long since overflowed Snow Hall, built in 1885, but it was not until 1903 that they were removed to suitable quarters in the new Museum building. A $50,000 law building was put up at that time. In 1905 the site of the Rosedale clinical hospital was accepted by the state, and in 1909, $50,000 was voted for a building. The administration building was begun that year on a $125,000 appropriation. In 1907, $150,000 was voted for a Civil and Mechanical Engineering building, and $50,000 for a building for the Department of Mines.

By act of the legislature of 1913, the management of the University passed from the Board of Regents to the Board of Administration created to have charge of all state educational institutions.

                                          ELIZABETH N. BARR.

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A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, transcribed by Carolyn Ward, 2000.

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