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Wichita State

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Wichita State

This article is about the school formerly named Fairmount College in Wichita, Kansas. For the university in Fairmont, West Virginia, see Fairmont State University.
Wichita State University
Established 1895
Type Public
Endowment $199.3 million[1]
President John Bardo
Academic staff 479 full-time
41 part-time
Students 14,550 (fall 2013)[2]
Undergraduates 11,763
Postgraduates 3,043

United States Wichita, Kansas, USA
37°43′09″N 97°17′35″W / 37.71917°N 97.29306°W / 37.71917; -97.29306Coordinates: 37°43′09″N 97°17′35″W / 37.71917°N 97.29306°W / 37.71917; -97.29306

Campus Urban
330 acres (1.3 km2)
Former names Fairmount College (1895-1926), The Municipal University of Wichita (1926-1964)
Newspaper The Sunflower
Colors      Yellow      Black
Nickname Shockers
Mascot WuShock
Affiliations Kansas Board of Regents

Wichita State University (WSU) is a public university in Wichita, Kansas. It is third largest of the six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents (behind University of Kansas and Kansas State).

Wichita State University offers more than 60 undergraduate degree programs in more than 200 areas of study in six colleges. The Graduate School offers an extensive program including 44 master's degrees in more than 100 areas and a specialist in education degree. It offers doctoral degrees in applied mathematics; audiology; chemistry; communicative disorders and sciences; nursing practice; physical therapy; psychology (programs in human factors, community and APA-accredited clinical psychology); educational administration; aerospace, industrial and mechanical engineering; and electrical engineering and computer science.

With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the university's students come from almost every state in the United States and 110 foreign countries. Eighty-seven percent are from Kansas, representing nearly all counties in the state. Wichita State has 479 full-time faculty and 41 part-time faculty. Of the total, 73 percent have earned the highest degree in their field.

The 330-acre (1.3 km²) campus has one of the largest outdoor sculpture collections of any U.S. university. Approximately 1,000 students live in campus dormitories. The main campus is within short driving distance from Interstate 135 and the K-96 expressway in north Wichita.

Wichita State University also hosts classes at four satellite locations. West Campus is located in Maize. This 9-acre (36,000 m2) campus hosts 100-150 university classes each academic semester. The university's South Campus began offering Wichita State University coursework at a new facility in Derby in January 2008.[3][4] The WSU Downtown Center houses the university's Center for Community Support & Research and the Department of Physical Therapy.[5] A quarter-mile northeast of campus, the Advanced Education in General Dentistry building, built in 2011, houses a classrooms and a dental clinic.[6] It is adjacent to the university's 75,000-square-foot Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, where many of WSU noncredit courses are taught.[7]


Wichita State University began as Fairmount College, a private Congregational school, founded in 1886 by the Rev. Joseph Homer Parker. The college continued the preparatory program of Fairmount Institute, which started in 1892. Collegiate classes began in 1895. In 1926, by a vote of the citizens of Wichita, the college became a public non-denominational institution named the Municipal University of Wichita (popularly known as "Wichita" or "WU"); it was the first municipal university west of the Mississippi.[8]

After 38 years as a municipal university, WSU changed its status on July 1, 1964, when it officially entered the state system of higher education. Wichita State University is one of the three research institutions in Kansas, along with the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.[8]


The main campus includes the Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art.[9] Research facilities include the National Institute for Aviation Research, biology research labs (Hubbard Hall), the WSU Field Station, chemistry research labs (McKinley Hall), and physics research labs (Jabara Hall).

WSU has four satellite campuses. The South Campus began offering Wichita State University coursework at a new facility in Derby, in January 2008.[10] The West Campus is located in Maize. This 9-acre (36,000 m2) campus hosts 100-150 university classes each academic semester.[11]


The University comprises the following six academic colleges:

  • W. Frank Barton School of Business
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine Arts
  • College of Health Professions
  • Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Wichita State is placed among Tier 2 National Universities in the United States.[12] For all engineering research and development expenditures, WSU ranked No. 88 in the USA for year 2009, with $21.8 million, down from No. 70 previous year.[13] WSU aeronautical engineering research ranked second in the U.S., with expenditures of $50 million on aeronautical engineering research and development in 2009. Ahead of Wichita State in this ranking Utah State University.[14] Wichita State's W. Frank Barton School of Business was listed in The Princeton Review 2011 "301 Best Business Schools," ranked as the 11th best program in the country for students seeking an undergraduate degree in entrepreneurship for 2007.[15]

The Aerospace Engineering department was founded in 1928 and has longstanding collaborative relationships with Airbus North America, Boeing, Bombardier-Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems, and other Wichita aviation concerns. National Science Foundation and U.S. News & World Report statistics, for fiscal year 2008, ranked Wichita State University as Top 3 among all U.S. universities in money spent on aerospace research and development, with $32.9 million in expenditures. The department teaches in the areas of composites, structures, Engineering mechanics, computational Fluid dynamics, applied Aerodynamics, and Flight simulation. Students can readily do internships at the nearby airports and many airplane company like Cessna, Learjet, etc.

Admissions and tuition

Freshmen are required to live on campus and have a meal plan. The average ACT score among Wichita State University students is 23, and the average high school GPA for the entering Fall 2012 class was 3.35.[16] For 2012, WSU had 3,515 total freshman applications and admitted 3,347 of those for an admission rate of 95.2 percent, with an entering class of 1,359. In 2011, the university had 3,304 total applicants, admitted 3,102 of them (admission rate of 93.8%) with an entering class GPA of 3.39 amongst the 1,366 students.[17]

Of the 6,122 members of the 2006 freshman class, 290 had been named valedictorian of their high school's graduating class.[18]

Tuition for full-time, Kansas residents attending Wichita State for the 2010-2011 academic year is $5,890. While fees for out-of-state residents for the 2010-2011 academic year are $13,924,[19] tuition at Wichita State for Kansas residents placed it as the exemplary public university, slightly beneath the weighted average tuition among Kansas's six public four-year universities.


WSU is an NCAA Division I institution and fields teams in tennis, cross-country, basketball, track, golf, men's baseball and women's volleyball and softball. Also, it offers club sports such as crew, bowling and intramural sports.

The men's baseball team is college baseball's highest winning team for the past 31 years, with numerous conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances. The baseball team won the national championship in 1989 and was runner-up in 1982, 1991 and 1993. They play at Eck Stadium.

The men's basketball team has played in the NCAA finals ten times since 1954, advancing to the Final Four in 1965 and 2013, the Elite Eight in 1981, and the Sweet Sixteen in 2006. The team also won the 2011 National Invitation Tournament Championship, beating the Alabama Crimson Tide. Among the Wichita State players who have played in the NBA are All-Star Xavier McDaniel, power forwards Antoine Carr and Cliff Levingston, two-time All-American Dave Stallworth, center Gene Wiley, and All-American Greg Dreiling. Four-time All-American Cleo Littleton joined the Shocks in 1951, breaking the unofficial color barrier in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The men’s and women’s bowling teams have won numerous USBC Intercollegiate Team Championships,[20] including the men’s 2003, 2008, 2009 and 2010 title and the women's 2005, 2007 and 2009 title.

The school discontinued its football program following the 1986 season due to poor attendance, financial red ink, NCAA recruiting violations, and the state of disrepair of Cessna Stadium. It had been never fully recovered from losing 16 starters, its athletic director, football coach and many others critical to the WSU program in a plane crash in 1970 (see below). Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells was a linebacker at WSU in 1962 and 1963 before serving as a graduate assistant in 1964. Wichita State University was also the first Division 1-A school to hire a black head coach in College Football, Willie Jeffries in 1979.[21][22]


The name for WSU's athletic teams is the Shockers and, collectively, students are also referred to as being "Shockers." The name reflects the University's heritage: Early students earned money by shocking, or harvesting, wheat in nearby fields. Early football games were played on a stubbled wheat field. Pep club members were known as Wheaties. Tradition has it that in 1904, football manager and student R.J. Kirk came up with the nickname Wheatshockers.[23] Although the Wheatshockers name was never officially adopted by the university, it caught on and survived until it was later shortened to Shockers. Until 1948, the university used a nameless shock of wheat as its symbol. WuShock came to life when junior Wilbur Elsea won the Kappa Pi honorary society's competition to design a mascot typifying the spirit of the school. Elsea, who had been a Marine during World War II, decided that "the school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression, with a serious, no-nonsense scowl."

Once Elsea's mascot was adopted by the university, which by that time was known as the Municipal University of Wichita, all that was needed was a name. The Oct. 7, 1948, issue of The Sunflower, the student newspaper, ran an advertisement urging students to submit names for the school's new mascot. It was freshman Jack Kersting who suggested the winning name, "WuShock."

In 1998, WuShock, also referred to as "Wu," marked his 50th birthday by undergoing a redesign and getting a pumped-up physique and revved-up attitude. The mascot's costume has changed over the years, as well. With the redesign, a new costume was introduced in fall 1998. In fall 1999, the head of the new costume underwent another redesign after a number of supporters suggested the mascot needed a more intimidating look. In 2006 it was decided to once again update the Wu costume. The general consensus was that many wanted the costume to more accurately reflect the depiction of WU in the school's logo. The new WuShock now has the ability to run, jump, and walk up stairs without help. Many officials feel that a more professional and intimidating mascot on the field will certainly bolster WSU's image.[24]

Football team plane crash

On October 2, 1970, the first, or "gold" plane (the twin plane to the second, or black, plane) carrying players and staff of the WSU football team took off from a Colorado airport after refueling, bound for Logan, Utah, for a game against Utah State University. It flew into a mountain valley too narrow to enable it to turn back and smashed into a mountainside, killing 31 of the 40 players, administrators and fans near a ski resort 40 miles (64 km) away from Denver. President Richard Nixon sent the president of the university a note which read, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to you in this time of sorrow."

Notable alumni and faculty

Main article: List of Wichita State University people


Further reading

  • History of Wichita and Sedgwick County Kansas : Past and present, including an account of the cities, towns, and villages of the county; 2 Volumes; O.H. Bentley; C.F. Cooper & Co; 454 / 479 pages; 1910. (Volume2 - Download 31MB PDF eBook)

External links

  • Official website
  • Official Athletics website
  • Main Campus Map (PDF)

Template:Wichita State University

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