Archive for Thursday, December 30, 2010

Heard on the Hill: Readers show KU was once ‘Kansas State University,’ too; Alternative Breaks provide students with productive ways to spend the winter; groups provide entire lists of KU tweeters

December 30, 2010


Here's your last dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University until 2011.

• I’ll think I’ll leave aside the “Kansas University” vs. “University of Kansas” epic battle for now. But before I leave the topic completely, I’ll note the response I got from several folks who had little moments of evidence where KU was referred to as “Kansas State University.”

KU was established in 1865, and Kansas State University was founded in 1863, but was first known as the Kansas State Agricultural College. It changed to the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science in 1939, and to its current name of Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science in 1959.

I got lots of good response from people who have found moments in time where KU was known as “Kansas State University” interchangeably with other names.

Perhaps that’s where the abbreviation came from, when the ‘S’ just dropped out?

Reader Mario Garibay sends in this photo of the KU campus from around 1910. It clearly says we&squot;re looking at "Kansas State University," as did a number of other photos and documents from around that era.

Reader Mario Garibay sends in this photo of the KU campus from around 1910. It clearly says we're looking at "Kansas State University," as did a number of other photos and documents from around that era.

One reader sent along this picture postcard showing the university around 1910, which clearly calls the university “Kansas State University.”

Jeff Dingman, city administrator for Baldwin City, wrote in to say he has an old panoramic picture of KU from 1908 in his office.

“It says ‘Kansas State University’ on the bottom. It clearly depicts Green, Dyche, & Spooner Halls, as well as the old Fraser Hall & Blake Hall,” Dingman wrote. “Throws people for a loop.”

• Most of the campus is on break through this week. Some employees right now who don’t want to schedule vacation time even have to ask for alternative work arrangements through Human Resources, I read in the online faculty newsletter.

But while many students and staff members are resting, a handful are participating in KU’s Alternative Breaks program, a program that sends students all across the country in an effort to make a difference.

Students are helping to rebuild New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, building trails in Tennessee, providing emotional support and assistance with everyday activities for children and adults with cerebral palsy.

There’s a good list of summer programs, too. And applications are due on March 5.

• A quick follow-up on KU Twitter accounts — both the lovely WorldCo Social folks and the KU Alumni Association maintain separate lists of KU tweeters. So they’re a good resource for people interested in following large numbers of KU people and entities all at once.

• I’m looking forward to having everyone back on campus. Typically people start trickling in after the new year. Give me tips for Heard on the Hill (or even send along your vacation photos) to


mom_of_three 7 years, 5 months ago

KSU was originally founded as Bluemont Central College. KU, in early newspapers, was called Kansas State when founded, and also called the state University of kansas. KSU was the Kansas Agriculture College in 1877 newspapers.

Bet there are good historians at the University who would know.

JackMcKee 7 years, 5 months ago

I want the person with the yearbooks from the early 1900s to come back. That pretty much trumps the rest of this.

truckfan 7 years, 5 months ago

the old composite photos in Green Hall of early law school classes from the turn of the 19th century list simply "K.S.U." at the bottom.

Tim Quest 7 years, 5 months ago

None of this explains the idiotic LJW policy of insisting on "Kansas University." This is not 1905. This is 2010.

anonyname 7 years, 5 months ago

"Readers show KU was once ‘Kansas State University,’ too." BS. To the reporter: I'll assume your given name is Andrew (which is true for nearly all people going by the name Andy). If I refer to you as Andy, does that make you no longer Andrew? Just because I call you Andy does not make that your given name. I can call you Bob all I want; it doesn't change the name your parents chose for you. Unless you're one of the exceedingly rare people who have legally changed their first name since birth, what's on your birth certificate is your actual name. Period.

In yesterday's column, you stated "Even though KU was occasionally known as Kansas State University, it has always been called “The University of Kansas.” Anyone else have other information that proves me wrong?" In a comment, I quoted the charter of the university, the official 'birth certificate,' if you will. It was the act of the state legislature creating the university. I'll quote it here once more for those who may have missed it: "section 1. There shall be established in this state, at or near the city of Lawrence, in the county of Douglas, on the grounds secured for that purpose pursuant to the act entitled 'An act to locate the State University,' passed February 20, 1863, an institution of learning, under the name of The University Of Kansas." Whether other people along the way have referred to it by other names is entirely irrelevant.

You asked for information that proves whether or not "The University of Kansas" has always been the official name. After about 10 minutes of research, I provided it. The university was created under the name The University of Kansas. To even attempt to claim that 'it was once Kansas State university too' after being shown proof that such a claim is false is shoddy journalism.

ahyland 7 years, 5 months ago

I think perhaps that some are missing my point. I'm not trying to cover up or hide that KU was and is officially known as "The University of Kansas." In fact, as you said, I've mentioned that several times.

This Kansas State University stuff was just something I found to be interesting. I hadn't heard it before. I'm not trying to use it as some weird justification to say that "Kansas University" is better than "University of Kansas." I've stated the reasons for that, and I'm happy to let them be. We could (and I have) go in circles for hours in that discussion, and we'd get nowhere.

To be clear, I'm reasonably certain that the university never officially went by the name of Kansas State University, but I just found it interesting that it was once called that by a number of people, given that no one would call it that today. And I figured I'd let others know about it, too. That's all.

anonyname 7 years, 5 months ago

Fair enough. I also found it interesting that some used to refer to KU as Kansas State University - it was strange to see pictures of Lawrence in the early 1900's captioned Kansas State University on the Library of Congress site.

Now that we've agreed that when not abbreviated KU is officially known as the University of Kansas, as shown by the 1864 charter, it's time to apply that fact to the rest of the Journal-World. In an article you co-wrote that was posted around 1:30 today, the headline and article refer to the 'Kansas University Cancer Center.' There is no such entity. There is a University of Kansas Cancer Center located at the University of Kansas. When you visit the website of the University of Kansas Cancer Center (, it does not refer to the Kansas University Cancer Center, but calls itself the University of Kansas Cancer Center.

I don't understand the Journal-World's insistence on using the wrong name. It's akin to calling this the's the same words, after all. If the KU Style Guide says to use 'the University of Kansas,' and the charter creating the institution clearly named it as 'the University of Kansas,' then perhaps the World-Journal should refer to it as 'the University of Kansas.' I realize you're not the one who makes the ultimate decision. If you're not comfortable making the case to whomever decided to use the incorrect name, I'd be happy to do so, and I'm guessing other readers would be as well.

I'm not attempting to troll or argue for the purpose of arguing. I'm simply trying to understand why this company insists on using the wrong name. The Topeka Capital-Journal correctly uses 'the University of Kansas,' as do the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, not to mention federal sites. Why can't the hometown paper of the University of Kansas get its name right?

mom_of_three 7 years, 5 months ago

newspapers in the 19th century also referred to KU as Kansas state University. Not sure why, but they did. Atchison Daily Champion, August 25, 1886, death of Amos Lawrence.

JackMcKee 7 years, 5 months ago

We still have not received an answer as to why the LJW chooses to call KU by the wrong name.

ahyland 7 years, 5 months ago

The best answer I can give you as to why the newspaper calls KU "Kansas University" is the one I already gave in this space a few days ago.

I realize that the explanation is not good enough for some, and — believe me — I understand where those arguments are coming from.

I think it's worth pointing out from my point of view, I've had nearly every possible discussion with a number of folks on this point, but in the end, "Kansas University" isn't going anywhere fast.

As I've said before, even though it's officially known as "The University of Kansas," it's generally known by both names. This newspaper has chosen one of those two for eons, and I don't think it's causing any confusion as to what we're talking about when we say it.

Bringing up this topic in the first place reminds me of a lesson I learned when I was a youth softball umpire. Once an opposing coach had come out, and said his piece, and turned around to walk away. I called him back, because I had something additional to add to the conversation. My partner, a longtime veteran, told me later that an umpire should never, ever do that.

"If the water's simmering down, for goodness sakes, don't bring it to a boil with a blowtorch," he told me (I'm paraphrasing. His mixed metaphors always got to me...)

Sage advice for this situation, too. I probably should have just never brought it up in the first place.

I understand your frustrations, however, and I'm glad you've chosen to vent in this space. I think that the discussion is helpful.

JackMcKee 7 years, 5 months ago

Andy, thank you for the explanation. I understand that the choice is made higher up in the chain of command. Calling it Kansas University is a very sore spot with a lot of KU grads. People assume that it done intentionally to aggravate us and that puts a lot of people on a bad foot with the LJW. I'm not sure why the local newspaper would choose to call KU something other than what it has officially requested to be called and alienate a large group of people and make the University itself unhappy. It seems like that is an example of cutting off ones nose to spite their own face.

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