A passion of the KU Memorial Union
  • Responding to campus radicalism and slashed state education budgets, a KU group called Students Concerned About Higher Education in Kansas publishes a bold advertisement that asks “WOULD YOU VOTE TO ABOLISH THE UNIVERSITY?”
  • The worst “Dust Bowl” dust storm hits Lawrence, shrouding the town and the KU campus in darkness by 2 p.m.
  • President Lyndon Johnson signs the Regional Medical Program Act into law, enabling the KU Department of Nursing to institute the first continuing education program in its history.
  • The US Army’s 77th Evacuation Hospital Unit, composed of volunteer doctors and nurses primarily from the KU School of Medicine and its Bell Memorial Hospital, is officially activated for duty in World War II
  • The Spencer Research Library's African American Experience Collection gets its real beginning as a federal grant enables the library to assemble the often overlooked documentary record left behind by Kansas’ African American population in a more focused fashion than ever before.
Confederate guerrilla leader William Clarke Quantrill perpetrates his infamous Civil War raid on Lawrence, virtually destroying the town and leaving its surviving residents without financial resources to help support the establishment of KU.
The Board of Regents elects KU’s first three faculty members.
The first six students enrolled in KU’s one-year “Preparatory Medical Course” begin classes on Mount Oread.
Death of the US Cavalry horse Comanche, once considered the sole American survivor of the Battle of Little Big Horn, whose preserved remains are now on display at the KU Museum of Natural History in Dyche Hall.
The Panorama of North American Mammals, a version of which is now located in the University of Kansas Natural History Museum in Dyche Hall, debuts as the centerpiece of the Kansas pavilion at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The University of Kansas Board of Regents authorizes creation of the four-year KU School of Medicine, accomplished by merging the existing two-year School, based in Lawrence, with three Kansas City-area proprietary medical colleges.
The new four-year KU School of Medicine begins its first day of classes with a faculty complement that includes several physician-educators with outstanding reputations.
In KU’s Bailey Hall, chemistry professors Hamilton P. Cady and David F. McFarland discover that helium can be extracted from natural gas.
The Junior Prom becomes the first formal event held in KU’s newly opened Robinson Gymnasium.
KU journalism students expose a widespread illicit liquor trade in officially "dry" Lawrence when they take over the reins of the Lawrence Daily Journal as part of a one-day experiment in investigative reporting.
Carnegie Foundation researcher Abraham Flexner visits the KU School of Medicine, compiling data and making observations for his influential expose entitled "Medical Education in the United States and Canada."
As World War I rages in Europe, KU Chancellor Frank Strong publicly opposes the idea of instituting compulsory military training in American universities.
KU senior Kenneth Pringle returns to Lawrence from his trip to Europe aboard Henry Ford’s “Peace Ship,” an idealistic but ultimately preposterous attempt to end World War I.
Braving below-freezing temperatures, over 4,000 KU students and local residents gather to see President Woodrow Wilson while his train pauses in Lawrence.
Shortly after the United States formally enters the First World War, KU Chancellor Frank Strong speaks on “Mobilization at the University” before the National Council of Defense in Washington, DC.
The worldwide outbreak of influenza, a devastating epidemic known as the “Spanish Flu”, shuts down KU for a month.
KU alum William Allen White, nationally renowned editor and publisher of the Emporia Gazette, pens his Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial in defense of free speech titled “To An Anxious Friend.”
The Kansas Board of Regents votes to accept a $75,000 gift from Elizabeth M. Watkins for the construction of the first KU residence hall for self-supporting women undergraduates.
A ceremony complete with military honor guard marks the laying of the cornerstone of the Kansas Memorial Union building.
The Department of Nursing Education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine begins offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
Kansas Representative William H. Blount convenes a hearing in Topeka to investigate racial discrimination at the University of Kansas, with particular focus on the Medical School’s exclusionary practices that prevent African American students from completing medical degrees at KU.
The worst “Dust Bowl” dust storm hits Lawrence, shrouding the town and the KU campus in darkness by 2 p.m.
In a vivid display of 1930s-era pacifism, 700 KU students gather in front of Fowler for a Student Strike Against War Committee protest rally, part of a global antiwar demonstration taking place on 140 campuses across the country and around the world.
The University Daily Kansan reports the death of KU sophomore Don Henry, a volunteer fighting for the Loyalist side in the Spanish Civil War, initiating investigations into radicalism and “communistic activity” at KU and sparking fears of a “Red Scare” on Mt. Oread.
Under pressure from civil rights leaders and Kansas Governor Walter Huxman, the Kansas Board of Regents votes to prohibit the de facto practices that had prevented African American students from completing their medical education at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
The first peacetime draft in American history comes to Mount Oread as KU registers 1,083 men in the Kansas Union.
The KU School of Medicine drops its prohibition against marriage for nursing students.
The University Daily Kansan responds to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor with a scathing editorial titled, “An Open Letter to Hirohito.”
The US Army’s 77th Evacuation Hospital Unit, composed of volunteer doctors and nurses primarily from the KU School of Medicine and its Bell Memorial Hospital, is officially activated for duty in World War II
The last major contingent of KU nurses and physicians in the US Army’s 77th Evacuation Hospital Unit departs for the States following the end of the Second World War in Europe.
The KU chapter of the Committee on Racial Equality (CORE) stages a sit-in at Brick’s Cafe in an attempt to force the owner to serve African-Americans.
The “Rural Health Program for Kansas,” a measure conceived by KU School of Medicine Dean Franklin Murphy to provide underserved Sunflower State communities with additional physicians and other medical professionals, is signed into law by Kansas Governor Frank Carlson.
The University of Kansas gains one of the world’s most impressive Irish political and literary collections when 11 tons of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and other items representing the bulk of Patrick Sarsfield O’Hegarty’s library arrive on Mount Oread.
KU speech clinician Dick Schiefelbusch presents preliminary research indicating that children with profound mental retardation can learn.
The National League for Nursing grants full accreditation to KU's nursing baccalaureate degree program.
The KU Civil Rights Council holds a student sit-in in the office of Chancellor W. Clarke Wescoe, the country’s second largest such demonstration to date.
President Lyndon Johnson signs the Regional Medical Program Act into law, enabling the KU Department of Nursing to institute the first continuing education program in its history.
The University of Kansas Graduate School approves establishment of a master’s degree in nursing.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy launches his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination with twin speeches at K-State and KU.
Student anti-war protestors disrupt and ultimately force the cancellation of the Chancellor’s Review of KU’s ROTC department.
Hippie activist Abbie Hoffman speaks at KU’s Allen Field House.
A firebomb blasts the Kansas Union, causing nearly $1 million in damages.
Former KU student Rick “Tiger” Dowdell, 19, is shot and killed by police in downtown Lawrence, sparking a week of protests, vandalism, and confrontations.
Three KU students are injured when a bomb tears through the University’s Computation Center.
The Kansas Board of Regents approves establishment of a clinical training campus of the KU School of Medicine in Wichita.
Responding to campus radicalism and slashed state education budgets, a KU group called Students Concerned About Higher Education in Kansas publishes a bold advertisement that asks “WOULD YOU VOTE TO ABOLISH THE UNIVERSITY?”
A women’s advocacy group calling themselves the February Sisters occupy the East Asian Studies building in an effort to win concessions from the University.
The School of Nursing is established as a co-equal academic unit of the KU Medical Center
Over 2,000 students and local residents pack KU’s Woodruff Auditorium for a special screening of The Day After, ABC’s controversial TV-movie filmed in Lawrence that depicts the effects of a nuclear holocaust on a typical American town.
The Spencer Research Library's African American Experience Collection gets its real beginning as a federal grant enables the library to assemble the often overlooked documentary record left behind by Kansas’ African American population in a more focused fashion than ever before.
Lightning strikes Hoch Auditorium, causing a fire that reduces the 64-year-old campus landmark to ruins in less than four hours.
Grunge rock group Nirvana appears in the Kansas Union Ballroom to promote the group's best-selling album "Nevermind", released just 20 days earlier. By January the album had reached number one on the Billboard charts, eventually selling over 30 million copies worldwide.
KU dedicates the new Regents Center, the first building on the University’s Edwards Campus in Johnson County.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway adds the final touches to the University’s campus plan.
Richard “Dick” Wright, a music professor at KU, KANU radio personality and one of the two founders of KU’s Archive of Recorded Sound, passes away.
The Kenneth Spencer Research Library marks the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Wilcox Collection of Contemporary Political Movements, which takes as its mission the preservation of materials from America's radical political fringe.
Subscribe to Events

KU Today
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times