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Back to School Scholarly Stuff! - April 29, 2016

Bluemont College building in Manhattan, Kansas. The photograph was taken by Alexander Gardner as part of the series Across the Continent on the Union Pacific Railway, Eastern Division, 1867. (Photo Courtesy of Kansas Historical Society /

Q: It was on this date (April 29) back in 1861 that a special committee of the Kansas Legislature recommended that the state take over Bluemont Central College and make it the basis for a new state university. What university did Bluemont College become? Give us the name of the school as we know it today!

A: Kansas State University 
Bluemont Central College was a private Methodist school located in Manhattan. Incorporated in 1858, it was the basis for what would eventually become Kansas State University. Bluemont College was named after a prominent hill in Manhattan. The name is sometimes written as "Blue Mont" rather than "Bluemont" because the articles of incorporation used two separate words. The term "Central" was included in the official name because the founders believed Manhattan was located very near the geographic center of the United States as it existed in 1858. Some Manhattan residents and K-State fans affectionately believe the town still is the center of the United States, if not the world, and we don’t blame them! The university and the town are both quite lovely. 
After Kansas became a state in 1861, the directors of Bluemont College offered the school's three-story building and land to the state of Kansas to become the state's university. A bill to accept this offer easily passed the Legislature in 1861, but was vetoed by Governor Charles Robinson, of Lawrence (home of the University of Kansas). An attempted override failed. The next year, another bill to accept the offer failed. Finally, on the third attempt, in 1863, the state approved a law accepting the college building and surrounding land, and established a state school that would later become Kansas State University.

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