Kansas State University begins celebrating its sesquicentennial Feb. 14 with a kickoff event looking back at 150 years of colleges, academic departments and other facets of university life — topped off with the university’s signature Call Hall ice cream and birthday cake.
The kickoff event is 1 to 7 p.m. at Ahearn Field House and will include music from university groups and displays about the university’s history. The party includes a treat from the Call Hall dairy bar, home to university-made ice cream. Named “Wildcat Birthday 150,” the flavor is a cake batter-based ice cream with chunks of birthday cake, topped with royal purple sprinkles.
From 5 to 7 p.m. the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art will have an opening reception for the “Museum of Wonder,” an exhibition running until Oct. 13 featuring a conglomeration of university artifacts from geology, aviation, physics, agriculture and more, as well as several ethnographic objects that have never been displayed before.
“Two years ago we began planning how we would recognize 150 years of history,” said Megan Umscheid, sesquicentennial coordinator and project coordinator in the president’s office. “Beginning Feb. 14, it will all come together when K-Staters and friends of the university start the nine-month-long celebration of our history. We’ll have sesquicentennial events going on until homecoming in October, celebrating under the banner of Generations of Success.”
The kickoff weekend continues at the men’s basketball game Saturday, Feb. 16, with recognition of Founders Day. The weekend goes out with a bang at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, in McCain Auditorium with an audience-interactive program, “Laughter and Reflection with Carol Burnett: A Conversation with Carol Where the Audience Asks the Questions.” Tickets for the show are available online at http://www.k-state.edu/mccain or by calling 785-532-6428.
Many other sesquicentennial projects will take place throughout the year, including a 150th Brown Bag Lecture Series, commissioned pieces of music and art, campus landscaping and community signage, and the Wildcat March Exhibition, which will take place from Feb. 14 through fall 2013.
The idea of the Wildcat March is a simple one—Kansas artists, architects, photographers and designers will paint, decorate and/or adorn fiberglass Wildcat statues. These Wildcats then will be exhibited around Manhattan during the sesquicentennial celebration.
The university also has a website offering official 150th commemorative merchandise, including T-shirts, a commemorative book, scarves, flags, note cards and Wildcat March replicas. The Kansas Wheat Alliance also approved a new wheat variety, “1863,” named in honor of Kansas State University.
The institution became the nation’s first operational land-grant institution and Kansas’ first public university after its founding Feb. 16, 1863.
The institution has operated under the names Kansas State Agricultural College, Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science and Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science.
Known as Kansas State University today, it encompasses three campuses — in Manhattan, Olathe and Salina — and recruiting offices and partnerships around the world, from Vietnam to Australia.
“As the university looks ahead to become a Top 50 public research university, it’s also important to look back at where we’ve been,” said Jackie Hartman, sesquicentennial chair and the university’s chief of staff and director of community relations. “We invite everyone to celebrate with us.”