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Wichita State University

Members of the football team of Fairmount CollegeIn 1886 Reverend Joseph Homer Parker founded Wichita State University as Fairmount College. Attached to the Congregational Church, Fairmount College classes began in 1895. The college was originally intended for students who were not able to afford other universities. In the early 1900s private ownership did not seem to be possible anymore and in 1926 the city of Wichita voted to make Fairmont College the Municipal University of Wichita. A new state university was approved in 1963 and the citizens of Wichita raised $1.5 million to provide a perpetual endowment for the new state university. In 2011 Wichita State University was home to 11,600 undergraduate students.

Tragedy struck Wichita State October 2, 1970 when a plane crash outside Silver Plume, Colorado took the lives of 31 members of the football team. Wichita State eventually discontinued football in 1986.  


More information on the university's history can be found on the Wichita State University website.

Entry: Wichita State University

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: May 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.