Stands proudly: Wichita State celebrates its 125th Anniversary

  • Wichita State University started as Fairmount College in 1895. It is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2020-21.
  • Events ranging from history months to innovation contests to athletics will mark the anniversary, both with in-person and remote gatherings.
  • July will celebrate the university's link to Wichita, which is marking its 150th birthday.

Our fight song asks us to “Hail, Hail Wichita.” Our alma mater ends with the verse, “O Wichita, Here’s to you.”

Here’s to you for 125 years, from Fairmount College to the University of Wichita to Wichita State University. The university’s 125thanniversary (Quasquicentennial) celebration begins July 1.

It is time to “Hail, Hail Wichita," for its student experience, history, achievements and leadership.

"I’m honored to begin the academic year with Shocker Nation as we celebrate our 125th year,” President Jay Golden said. “In September 1895, Fairmount College, the forerunner of Wichita State University, held its first classes northeast of 17th Street and Hillside in Fairmount Hall. Now, 125 years later, we celebrate the ever-expanding role of our institution as a pillar of cultural and academic excellence, a vital engine of economic growth and a positive force in the lives of millions.”

Together with the city of Wichita, Wichita State has built a strong and symbiotic partnership. It's a relationship that supplies the lifeblood of a thriving community and makes it possible to provide the most well-rounded education in the region.

Today, the university continues its evolution through collaboration, innovation, applied learning and entrepreneurship – creating the ideal environment for students, industry and community to work together and build a bright future for our city, region and world.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration will look different than we’d planned. Events will need to be adjusted to adhere to safety guidelines, and many of them will switch to a virtual format.

“During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, I often walk the campus, amazed at the fact that it’s so quiet — and a little saddened by that,” Provost Rick Muma said. “But one thing has struck me… as I walk by Fiske Hall, our oldest building built in 1906, it was here during the last viral pandemic. And it’s still here, and the university is still here. I am reminded that we will survive this.”

A Year of Celebration

The celebration starts in July with a month dedicated to the university’s connection to the city of Wichita, which is celebrating its 150thbirthday.

In August, students return with Welcomefest events, and the Quasquicentennial celebrates the 1800-1900s.

Wichita State celebrates its birthday on Sept. 11, part of a month dedicated to the 1920-1930s and highlighted by Academic Convocation on Sept. 10.

Events such as Shocktoberfest, WSU Open House, Springfest, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Shocker New Venture Competition and Hippodrome will mark the anniversary into 2021.

Shocker athletic events will also honor the anniversary.

We invite all Shockers to join us in recognizing the university’s 125-year history and the people and events that created so many memories.

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