Uncloistered halls : the centennial history of Wichita State University

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Miner, H. Craig

Miner, H. Craig. Uncloistered Halls: The Centennial History of Wichita State University. Wichita State University Endowment Association, 1995.

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President Harry Corbin of the University of Wichita in the 1950s quoted Joseph Hudnot of Harvard that: "A city is made by the form and content of society. That form and content must be expressed by the institutions which are the functions of society.... I think of the urban university as the first among such institutions. That life which the cathedral gave to the medieval city, that beauty which the palace gave to the city of the Renaissance, the university will give to the city of tomorrow. It will form, with museums of art and science, libraries, concert halls, theaters and schools, a great cultural heart out of which will flow the currents which inform the life of the city with dignity and meaning. A training school for the civil vocations, its uncloistered halls shall be crowded with citizens." That has been the mission of Wichita State University. Founded as Fairmount College in the classical liberal arts and religious mode in 1895, the institution has evolved with its surrounding city and society. It became a municipal university in 1926 and a state university in 1964. Along the way there has been constant redefinition of strategy though always a consistent determination to live up to the traditional academic standard expected of a true university while at the same time responding to the changing wants and needs of a local and regional political and student constituency. This is a cultural history of the institution on Fairmount Hill, emphasizing those "pivotal moments" of crisis and decision which put a long-lasting stamp on the character of the place. Based on a university archive of over one million pieces, as well as oral history, this book provides orientation and spirit for the present faculty, administration and students of WSU, and perspective for planning for the university's next century that goes well beyond its obvious role as nostalgic souvenir of the centennial celebration.