You can't talk about Kansas State University without mentioning its deeply rooted land-grant history. Originally founded in 1863 as Kansas State Agricultural College, the university is proud to be the nation's first operational land-grant university.
However, it's difficult to understand the responsibility these institutions bear without awareness of why they exist. Land-grant colleges and universities were established in 1862 with the passage of the first Morrill Act. The Morrill Act reflected a growing demand for agricultural and technical education in the U.S. While institutions had begun to expand their traditional classical curriculum, higher education was still widely unavailable to many agricultural and industrial workers.
The U.S. needed a system that provided a practical education that was relevant to daily lives. The Morrill Act, and the institutions it generated, served that purpose by allowing members of the working class to obtain a liberal, yet practical, education.
The original mission was to teach agriculture, military tactics, mechanical arts and classical studies. More than 150 years later, K-State has held tightly to these values, although our methods have greatly evolved. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for all Kansas through education, research and outreach.
This mission is perfectly in line with the university's initiative to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025. K-State offers both in-state and out-of-state students more than 250 majors and options, ensuring each student finds an outlet for success. Additionally, both undergraduate and graduate students have numerous opportunities for research. Many of our students have their research published even before they graduate.
Of course, it doesn't stop with students — our expert faculty conducts groundbreaking research in more than 90 research centers or facilities, including four U.S. Feed the Future labs. K-State also is developing important partnerships with the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, which is being constructed adjacent to the Manhattan campus.
The university fulfills its obligation to outreach largely through K-State Research and Extension, which makes research-based information available to all Kansans. In fact, there is an extension office in each of the 105 counties in the state.
What started as a small agricultural college has transformed into a three-campus system with offices and partnerships from Australia to Vietnam — and we're just getting started. At K-State, we don't cater to what's popular; we come together to find out what's next.
That's the Wildcat Way.