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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, as well as seeking to better the lives of others through research and service. 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.

The Wildcat Way 

The Wildcat Way is family. It's being confident that we have your back. It's the courage to take risks, recover from defeat and win with humility. We choose to be Wildcats, and we will always choose to be purple. That's a powerful K-State tradition.


Manhattan, Kansas
the "Little Apple"




Land-grant university


University seal


Willie Wildcat

Mascot Willie Wildcat


Powercat (spirit mark)