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About K-State

History and Traditions

The memories we make today become the stories we tell tomorrow. At Kansas State University, these stories become traditions that last a lifetime. Since 1863, thousands upon thousands of students have chosen these Wildcat traditions and then added their own to the mix. There are never too many, and there is always room for more. 

Rooted in service

The foundation of all K-State traditions is a solid commitment to putting others first. In 1858, Bluemont Central College, a private institution, opened in Manhattan, Kansas, and it was only a few short years later that Kansas was admitted to the Union. Nearly immediately, efforts began to establish a state university, and Bluemont Central College was converted to the Kansas State Agricultural College in 1863.

The institution that later became known as Kansas State University, or K-State, was the nation's first operational land-grant university. This meant K-State was  tasked with teaching agriculture, science, military science and engineering to any interested student, opening up educational access and opportunity to all. Additionally, through a commitment to service, the university has always sought to better the lives of others through research and engagement.

For more than 150 years, we have taken this obligation to heart. Whether it means making a stranger feel welcome on campus, cheering on a teammate or developing a vaccine that saves lives, we are committed to the Wildcat Way.

This is particularly important to us to live these ideals with great care and responsibility, as we recognize that the land that our great university rests upon, appropriated under the 1862 Morrill Act, did not come without a price. The dispossession of Indigenous peoples and nations from their lands is a history undeniably linked to the land-grant heritage — one that compels us every day to live out our mission in a way that builds a better future for all.


Manhattan, Kansas
the "Little Apple"




Land-grant university


University seal


Willie Wildcat

Mascot Willie Wildcat


Powercat (spirit mark)