Dyche Hall reflected in the front window of Spooner Hall, on KU's Lawrence campus.


In 1866, the University of Kansas welcomed the first class of 55 students to an unfinished building on a modest hill called Mount Oread. From that treeless ridge, KU flourished into the state's flagship institution — a premier research university that claims nearly 30,000 enrolled students across five campuses.

Our campuses

KU has global reach with a Kansas focus. Our main campus overlooks the historic city of Lawrence. The Edwards Campus and KU Medical Center serve Kansas City communities. Satellite campuses in Wichita and Salina support Jayhawks pursuing medical professions.

The KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

Our community

We call ourselves Jayhawks. These mythical birds embody the KU community's guiding values: perseverance, positivity, and restless innovation. We fly high because we start at the top.

Marching Jayhawks wave KU flags at a homecoming concert, in front of KU's Memorial Campanile.
Students clap their hands during a KU Men's Football game.
Students wave the wheat in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

Our traditions

If you recognize the Jayhawk or have heard the Rock Chalk Chant, you know that KU tradition is anything but traditional. Our customs are often unquestionably quirky — and quintessentially KU.

The Jayhawk

With a name rooted in Kansas’ abolitionist history and a design evolved by students, our crimson and blue (and yellow) mascot is the ultimate expression of the KU identity.

Rock Chalk Chant

You may not know what it means, but you can certainly feel it. Depending on the context, our historic college cheer can be thrilling, haunting, or conversation-starting. It’s every Jayhawk’s secret handshake.

Waving the Wheat

Kansas is more than prairie land and wheat fields. But, when the conditions are just right, you might find whole stadiums of Jayhawks swaying their arms in the air like majestic waves of grain.

The KU Fight Song Hand Claps

You think college is challenging? Well, try learning the polyrhythmic hand claps that punctuate KU’s fight song, “I’m a Jayhawk”. You won’t get it on your first try. You may get it on your tenth. We think these difficult maneuvers are worth mastering.

The Alma Mater

KU’s alma mater, “Crimson and the Blue,” epitomizes KU spirit and unites our community. To its familiar melody and eloquent lyrics, we rise and embrace our fellow Jayhawks.

Two students enter a hallway with Jayhawks and handwritten messages on the wall

About Lawrence

Our hilly abode is home to 100,000 Lawrencians, a bustling arts and culture scene, and outdoor opportunities unlike anywhere else in Kansas. See why Lawrence is consistently ranked a top-10 college town.