MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Kansas State University is recognizing 150 years of history with its sesquicentennial celebration. It is the nation's first operational land-grant institution and Kansas' first public university.
A kickoff event was held at Ahearn Field House from 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday, February 14th.
The event included music from university groups and displays about the university's history.
Visitors, including alumni from around the country, perused displays documenting colleges, departments and other university units -- from past to present.
The kickoff was shown live at 4 p.m. online at http://www.k-state.edu/150/ and on K-StateHD.TV at http://www.k-state.edu/tv/.
A official program Thursday afternoon included remarks from Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Kansas Board of Regents President and CEO Andy Tompkins, and past student body presidents. Performances included the university's orchestra, marching band and a cappella group In-A-Chord.
From 5 to 7 p.m. the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art had 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.
The kickoff weekend continues at the men's basketball game Saturday, Feb. 16, with recognition of Founders Day. The weekend wraps up 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.
For the Wildcat March, Kansas artists, architects, photographers and designers will paint, decorate and/or adorn 30 fiberglass Wildcat statues. These Wildcats then will be exhibited around Manhattan during the sesquicentennial celebration, similar to the 2001 Kansas City CowParade with painted cow statues
The statues are 36 inches high, 40 inches in length -- from paw to tail -- and weigh around 50 pounds.
Five of the statues will be on display at the sesquicentennial kickoff event Feb. 14, at the gala on Feb. 15 and at the men's basketball game Feb. 16. The rest of the statues will be on display at the K-State Alumni Center.
After Feb. 20, all statues will be at their sponsor home on campus and around Manhattan. Visit http://www.k-state.edu/150 for details on final locations during the celebration.
The Wildcat statues will be auctioned Sept. 13 at the Alumni Center. All the proceeds will go toward the 150th Student Scholarship Fund.
The public will be able to vote for the five best decorated Wildcat statues, and mini-replicas of these statues will be produced for purchase. All completed statutes will be featured in a commemorative Wildcat March Exhibition book, which will be available shortly after the celebration concludes.
Kansas State University 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.
For more information and events, visit http://www.k-state.edu/150.