Since its founding, the University of Kansas has embodied the aspirations and determination of the abolitionists who settled on the curve of the Kaw River in August 1854. Their first goal was to ensure that the new Kansas Territory entered the union as a free state. Another was to establish a university.
A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities since 1909, KU consistently earns high rankings for its academic programs. Its faculty and students are supported and strengthened by endowment assets of more than $1.44 billion. It is committed to expanding innovative research and commercialization programs.
The main campus in Lawrence tops Mount Oread, known informally as the Hill. This long, curved limestone ridge was named by the town founders who for a decade endured bitter conflicts with pro-slavery factions from Missouri. A horrific guerrilla raid in August 1863 burned the town and killed 200 men and boys. Yet a few months after the Civil War ended, KU was founded, opening in September 1866.
Just 32 years later, the inventor of basketball, James Naismith, founded a beloved tradition here. The scientist who discovered vitamins A and D was a graduate. Helium was extracted from gas for the first time in a KU lab. The inventor of the time-release medication capsule taught here. Astronauts, artists, authors, business leaders, senators and governors, Pulitzer Prize winners, and a Nobel laureate launched their careers here. And thousands of teachers, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, musicians, architects, engineers, and lawyers mastered their subjects here. Welcome to their Hill.