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Wichita State University

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Please help improve this articleby adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challengedand removed. (April 2008) Wichita State University Established: 1895Type: PublicEndowment: $189,300,000[1]President: Donald L. Beggs Faculty: 479 full-time
41 part-time Students: 14,298 Location: Wichita, Kansas, USACampus: Light Metropolitan, 330 acres Athletics: NCAADivision INickname: ShockersMascot: WuShock

Coordinates: 37°43′09″N, 97°17′35″W

Wichita State University (WSU) is an American state-supported university located in the city of Wichita, Kansas. WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The current President is Dr. Donald Beggs.

Wichita State University offers more than 60 undergraduate degree programs in more than 200 areas of study in six undergraduate colleges: W. Frank Barton School of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, College of Health Professions, and Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 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; chemistry; communicative disorders and sciences; psychology (programs in human factors, community, and A.P.A. accredited clinical psychology); educational administration; and aerospace, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering.

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. 87 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 1000 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 two satellite campus locations. Wichita State University West Campus is located in Maize, Kansas. This 9-acre campus hosts 100-150 university classes each academic semester. Wichita State University South Campus first began offering classes in Derby, Kansas, in August 2007 in Derby High School. The university's South Campus began offering Wichita State University coursework at a new facility in Derby in January 2008.



Wichita State University began as Fairmount College, a private Congregational school, 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.

After 38 years as a municipal university, WSU again changed its status on July 1, 1964, when it officially entered the state system of higher education. Now, Wichita State University is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents, and along with the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, one of the three research institutions in Kansas.

Alma Mater

Our alma mater Wichita,
Stands Proudly on the hill;
Our sons and daughters bow to thee,
Our hearts with praise we fill.

Then, hail! Alma Mater!
Hail, thee, Grand and True,
Long wave the Yellow and Black,
O Wichita, Here's to you!

Around our lives are memories
That tenderly entwine; And
Thru the midst of the rolling years,
Of thee we build a shrine.

Then, hail! Alma Mater!
Hail, thee Grand and True,
Long wave the Yellow and the Black,
O Wichita, Here's to you!

Thy call to all that life hold dear
Is a clear and constant guide;
With Love and Truth and Loyalty,
And may they e'er abide.

Then, hail! Alma Mater!
Hail, thee Grand and True,
Long wave the Yellow and the Black,
O Wichita, Here's to you!

(Before basketball games, when the Alma Mater is sung, it is traditional for the entire crowd to shout "BLACK!" along with the song.)


See also: Wichita State Shockers men's basketball

WSU is a NCAA Division I institution, and fields teams in tennis, cross-country, basketball, track, golf, crew, bowling, men's baseball, and women's volleyball and softball. The men's baseball team is college baseball's winningest 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. The men's basketball team reached the Final Four in 1965, the Elite Eight in 1981 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2006. The men’s and women’s bowling teams have won numerous USBC Collegiate Bowling Championships, including the men’s 2003 title and the women's 2005 and 2007 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. Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells was a linebacker at WSU in 1958 and 1959 before serving as a graduate assistant.


Wichita State Shockers logo

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. [1] 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.

Hand gesture controversy

The Shockers are also known for the hand gesture used by many students and fans, often confused with the popular culture hand gesture known as the shocker. This hand gesture is held up during free throws and three point shots at basketball games. The hand gesture referred to as "The Shocker" in popular culture today is actually a different formation all-together from the one used for many years by WSU's cheer squads, players and fans, although this fact is lost on those not associated with WSU athletics. The student body and cheer squad at WSU started dropping the use of the thumb in WSU's hand gesture around the time that the sexually-connotated gesture was gaining popularity, causing many people to draw a correlation between the WSU hand gesture and "The Shocker" sexual hand gesture. Since that time the administration of the school has strongly discouraged the flashing of the hand gesture without the use of the thumb by fans and students. For the most part this has been adhered to, causing the traditional WSU shocker hand gesture to be restored to its previous formation and meaning, which was nothing more than a hand formation in the form of the letter "W".

Football team plane crash

Main article: Wichita State University 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 pulled into a mountain valley too narrow to turn back and smashed into a mountainside, killing 31 of the 40 players, administrators and fans near a ski resort 40 miles 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."[citation needed]

Faculty Awards

Aerospace Engineering

The most recognized department at Wichita State is Aerospace Engineering. Founded in 1928, the department of aerospace engineering has a long history of academic excellence, scholarship, and commitment to community. Located in the "Air Capital of the World," students and faculty benefit from Wichita's rich aviation heritage and close proximity to major aircraft companies.

The department boasts a strong undergraduate and graduate curriculum, significant student learning opportunities, substantial funded research, and rich collaborative relationships with Airbus North America, Boeing, Bombardier-Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit Aerosystems, and other Wichita aviation concerns.

The Cooperative Education Program is among the best in the country, facilitating placements for students while they are in school. Outstanding students work as Co-Ops or Interns locally and at NASA (including the Johnson Space and Dryden Flight Research Centers).

Recent National Science Foundation statistics, for fiscal year 2004, ranked Wichita State University fourth among all U.S. universities in money spent on aerospace research and development, with more than $20 million in expenditures. WSU faculty, staff, and, most importantly, students participate in this research. Again, here is a great chance to "learn by doing."

The department is very strong in the areas of composites, structures, engineering mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, applied aerodynamics, and flight simulation. Related facilities, in the Aerospace Engineering department and the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR), are among the best in the nation. Students get a chance to use these labs either through research, class assignments, or projects.

The aerospace engineering curriculum is designed to develop skills in these five areas, as well as in math, physical science, general engineering, digital computation, and written and oral communication. When you're a senior, you'll be ready for courses in aerospace design. The aerospace engineering department has well-equipped laboratory facilities for required courses and student projects. You'll have access to laboratory facilities that are among the finest found in academic institutions nationwide - five wind tunnels, a water tunnel, and a structural testing lab. College of engineering students also have access to computer laboratories and a campus-wide wireless network.

You may want to participate in cooperative education, a voluntary program in which you'll have the opportunity to integrate formal course work with periods of relevant off-campus employment. Our co-op students have worked at such facilities as the NASA Johnson Space Center, Spirit Aerosystems, Inc., Boeing, Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Notable alumni

WSU Gallery

First Pizza Hut Building


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