The addition of the new Business, Engineering, Science and Technology building on Kansas University’s Edwards Campus in Johnson County is a significant step in the transition of the school from a facility to meet the needs of so-called non-traditional students to a university that will become a major educational institution.
The Edward Campus will continue to grow in excellence and play a more significant role in higher education in greater Kansas City.
The original purpose of the school was to provide graduate-level opportunities in Johnson County for people who found it difficult to travel to Lawrence to continue their education. Night classes were offered, and the school provided a means for working people to fit a graduate education into their tight schedules.
The school is transitioning into a facility that will provide classes for both traditional and non-traditional students.
Land for the Edwards Campus was donated by Kansas City business leader Clay Blair in 1987. This significant and generous gift is located in a prime location and covers between 35 and 40 acres. It is named for Blair’s close friend, the late Roy Edwards, a KU graduate and well-known Kansas City business leader with a deep interest in KU.
In past years, Blair served as a chairman of the Kansas Board of Regents and, more recently, as the first chairman of the Kansas Bioscience Authority. He made his gift of land to the state and KU when Gene Budig was KU’s chancellor. Blair hoped the school would give individuals from all disciplines an educational opportunity. In addition to the backing of Budig, the proposal to establish a KU campus in Kansas City had the strong support of then-Gov. Mike Hayden, as well as various local and city officials.
The growing Edwards Campus, the KU School of Medicine, the KU Hospital (a separate and independent facility) in Wyandotte County and the resources and excellence of the KU campus here in Lawrence combine to provide an ideal academic-research resource for Kansas City.
In many ways, KU is the comprehensive research institution that Kansas City must have if the city is to grow and take advantage of its many opportunities.