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KU Firsts

Presidential Visits

September 24, 1911

President William Howard Taft stops on the KU campus for about one hour and speaks to a welcoming crowd in old Robinson Gymnasium.

Natural Observer

April 1, 1874

The Observer of Nature, KU’s first serious student publication, issues its premiere edition.

Breaking With The Past

September 10, 1902

Carl L. Becker, author of the much-reprinted essay “Kansas” and one of the central figures in the development of the nature of historical inquiry, begins teaching his first European history class at the University of Kansas.

Orange You Just Crushed?

January 1, 1948

The football Jayhawkers become the first college team from the state of Kansas to play in a bowl game, squaring off against Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Radio Days

December 15, 1924

KFKU, the University’s first radio station, makes its inaugural broadcast.

High On Helium

December 7, 1905

In KU’s Bailey Hall, chemistry professors Hamilton P. Cady and David F. McFarland discover that helium can be extracted from natural gas.

Bacteriology To The Future

September 5, 1894

Bacteriologist Marshall A. Barber, whose invention of the micropipette will enable him to conclusively prove the germ theory of disease, begins his 17-year teaching career at the University of Kansas and the KU School of Medicine.

“Sound Alternative”

October 15, 1975

Student-run radio station KJHK-FM goes on the air with DJ Steve Doocy, bringing jazz, progressive and "alternative" rock to Mount Oread, along with a fair share of controversy.

Fly Us To The Moon

December 7, 1972

Commander Ronald E. Evans becomes the first KU alumnus in space when he and two other astronauts of Apollo 17 blast off from Cape Kennedy on NASA’s sixth and final 20th century manned mission to the moon.