Kansas State University


Graduate School

Generations of success

Planting seeds into a machine, a plant pathology graduate student records observations with leaf rust. The caption and photo are from the 1968 Royal Purple yearbook. Previous editions of the Royal Purple can be viewed online for free.

Kansas State Agricultural College in Manhattan, Kan., became the first fully operational land-grant college in America in 1863.  As the first public university in Kansas, the college opened with 52 students enrolled.

In the 150 years since its doors first opened, there has been more than a name change.

Today, K-State is listed among the top 75 public universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.  Enrollment across the Manhattan, Salina and Olathe campuses exceeds 24,000 students.  K-State offers more than 250 undergraduate majors, 70 master’s degrees, 42 doctoral degrees and 36 graduate certificates.

K-State celebrated its sesquicentennial Feb. 14 with a kickoff event looking back at 150 years of university history. Each college, department and university life area honored their history with a display at the event. Major milestones celebrated by the Graduate School included:

  • 1868: First graduate student enrolled
  • 1869: Martha A. White awarded first graduate degree; all degrees awarded prior to 1886 were honorary and informally based on substantial and significant works.
  • 1894: Fairchild Hall (current home of the Graduate School) constructed to house the library and agricultural sciences
  • 1909-1919: Council of Deans handled all graduate work; passed along applications to each dean who then set up course work for each student in his/her division
  • 1927: Fairchild Hall substantially remodeled upon relocation of library to Hale
  • 1931: Division of Graduate Study established; Dr. James Ackert named Dean
  • 1933: First PhD awarded to Hugh Stanley Carroll in chemistry; dissertation titled “Studies in the Methylation of Lactose”
  • 1942: Division of Graduate Study renamed Graduate School
  • 1959: Master of Arts degree established; first Master of Arts degree awarded to Sanum Shantikumar in philosophy
  • 1970: First K-State/Ft. Leavenworth Cooperative Degree Program (Political Science)
  • 1997: First graduate certificate awarded (Women’s Studies)
  • 1998: First online master’s degree students matriculated (Master of Agribusiness)
  • 2003: Implementation of the online application for graduate admission
  • 2012: First graduate courses offered at K-State Olathe; first professional master’s degree offered at K-State Salina

Lecture Series Celebrates 150th

As part of the K-State sesquicentennial celebration, a series of historical lectures has been planned. The 150th Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture Series will feature various speakers and historical topics during the spring and fall 2013 semesters.

Dr. Robert Kruh, dean of the Graduate School from 1967-1990, and Dr. Carol Shanklin, current dean of the Graduate School, will discuss the “Past, Present & Future of Graduate Education at K-State” on Wednesday, April 17 from noon-1 p.m. in the K-State Union.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch to eat during the lecture.

Your Support Matters

K-State has come a long way in the past 150 years and there is no telling what the next 150 years will bring. Your commitment and support will be essential as we work together to enhance the scholarly experiences for our graduate students.  We hope you will consider how you might support these efforts by providing internship or research opportunities, serving as lecturers, contributing to scholarship and fellowship programs, serving on panels for professional development workshops and reconnecting with your mentor and/or department and sharing your success stories.  To explore ways to contribute to the graduate student experience, contact Tracy Robinson, development officer for the Graduate School, at (785) 532-7568 or tracyr@found.ksu.edu.

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