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Hail to the Chief, Hail to Old KU - September 27, 2013

Q: The very first sitting U.S. president to visit the University of Kansas was Ulysses S. Grant in 1873. Who was the last sitting American president to visit KU? Taft-Spencer-Research-LibraryPresident Taft (middle) talking with a group of officials. (Photo via Spencer Research Library)


A: William Howard Taft (who came to KU in September of 1911!)


Taft-Topeka-1911 KHSThe 27th President of the United States William Howard Taft on the steps of the capitol in Topeka. (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society /

Lots of American presidents visited the University of Kansas before they served in The White House and many came to KU as former U.S. presidents. But when it comes to sitting American presidents, only three have visited the school: Grant, Hayes and Taft. According to KU and Lawrence historians, U.S. Grant visited KU in April 1873. Rutherford B. Hayes came in September 1879. And the last sitting president to make time for the Jayhawks was William Howard Taft, who was at KU in September 1911. President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit KU in April of 2013, but after the Boston bombings, his trip was cancelled. Learn more about presidential visits to KU by visiting this awesome website:

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