The historian James Truslow Adams once wrote: “There are
two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other
how to live.” KansasStateUniversity and EmporiaStateUniversity have been highly successful at doing
both for more than a century.
year marks the 150th anniversary
for both KansasStateUniversity and EmporiaStateUniversity.
Throughout the decades, the universities have made a significant impact on our
state and changed lives for the better.
1863, K-State opened its doors as America’s
first land grant institution. Classes began with 52 students, but the
university did not remain small for long. Today, nearly 24,000 students from
all 50 states and more than 90 countries attend K-State. Students can choose
from more than 250 undergraduate majors and participate in more than 475
by the Princeton Review as one of our nation’s best colleges, K-State has a
reputation of academic excellence. Wildcats are also known for their commitment
to one another. In 2006, students created K-State Proud to raise funds for
fellow students who are struggling to remain at school. Over the last 6 years,
students have raised more than $550,000 to help their peers continue their
you ask any K-State alum what they love most about their school, they will
probably tell you it’s the K-State family. The spirit of camaraderie between
alumni across generations is remarkable. Among the thousands of K-State alumni
are Olympic gold medalists, accomplished scientists and successful businessmen.
The names of several alumni are familiar to most Kansans, including Governor
Sam Brownback, General Dick Myers – the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff – and perhaps the most proud Wildcat I know, my friend and colleague Senator
the last few decades, I have witnessed incredible growth and success at
K-State, which can be largely attributed to the strong leadership of former
President Jon Wefald, who served as president for 23 years. In 2009, President
Kirk Schulz began his tenure at K-State, and has continued to lead the
university on to new heights. Under President Schulz’s leadership, I know
K-State will thrive for years to come.
For the past 150 years, Emporia
State University has also been changing lives. ESU was
founded in 1863 as Kansas’
first school for training teachers and originally known as Kansas
Normal School. In its first year, the president and only
teacher, Lyman Kellogg, taught 18 students on the second floor of the district
Today, 6,500 students from 45
states and 55 countries are enrolled at Emporia
Consistently ranked as a Tier 1 Regional University by U.S. News & World Report,
ESU offers students a wide range of academic programs to choose from and the
opportunity to participate in more than 130 student organizations.Whether ESU students pursue a
career in education or another field, many students continue their studies or
return to Emporia
graduate work. Among the Kansas Regents universities, ESU students earn the
highest percentage of graduate degrees – one-third of all the degrees earned
Emporia State students are also well
prepared to make a difference after college because many spend time giving back
to the local community. Throughout the region, students have cared for the
elderly, provided food for the hungry, mentored children, and built homes for
Today, more than 75,000 alumni from
50 states and 80 countries are proud to be called Emporia State Hornets. Alumni
gone on to accomplish great things. Among the many distinguished alumni are
Minnie Grinstead, who was the first woman elected to the Kansas state legislature in 1918, and Robert
Mott, a World War II veteran who later helped create National Public Radio.
One alum said this about the impact
ESU had on her life: “I was told by a high school guidance counselor that I
would never make it in college. ESU gave me an opportunity to ‘try.’ Not only
did I earn a bachelor’s degree, I earned a masters, and Ph.D. Thank you ESU,
you changed my life in a positive way.” I am confident the new President, Dr.
Michael Shonrock, will make certain ESU continues to impact the lives of
students for years to come.
To commemorate this historic
anniversary, Senator Pat Roberts and I introduced two resolutions, which were
both approved by the U.S. Senate, to congratulate the students, faculty and
alumni of K-State and Emporia
State University for 150 years of excellence in higher
education. Happy Anniversary to the Wildcats and the Hornets – may the next 150
years be even brighter than the last.