On September 12, 1866, the University of Kansas opened its doors and became the first state university on the Great Plains. Three faculty members greeted 55 students at the new school. The legislative act that established and organized the university stated that "the object of the university shall be to provide the inhabitants of this state with the means of acquiring a thorough knowledge of the various branches of literature, science, and the arts." During its history, the university has striven to meet that goal. In the process, it has attracted talented teachers and students from all over the world. Today, almost 30,,000 students pursue educational goals in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and 12 other schools on campuses in Lawrence, Kansas City, Overland Park, and Wichita, and at numerous outreach sites throughout the state.
The University of Kansas Medical Center began in the late 19th century. In 1889, a one-year preparatory course for medical school got under way in Lawrence. Students who completed the year then transferred to other medical schools. The curriculum was lengthened to two years in 1899, but no provision was made for clinical (hospital) teaching or for awarding a medical degree until 1905. In that year, clinical instruction began at the first Bell Memorial Hospital, built with funds and on land donated by Kansas City physician and entrepreneur Simeon B. Bell.
The first Bell Memorial Hospital comprised 35 beds and two dispensary buildings about one mile north of the present campus. By 1924, the school and hospital had expanded and moved to the Medical Center's current location.
Now the Medical Center, with Schools of Allied Health, Nursing, and Medicine, and an Office of Graduate Studies, is a dynamic center for health education and patient care.
The School of Medicine enrolls 191 students each year in the four-year M.D. program. Students spend the first two years of medical school, the preclinical or basic science phase, at the Medical Center in Kansas City, in Salina or in Wichita. The final two years of instruction take place in the hospital in Kansas City, Salina or Wichita. Students from KU are welcomed to residency posts at some of the finest institutions in the country.
Graduate medical education programs (residency training) draw outstanding medical school graduates from all over the country to the Medical Center and Wichita. Off-campus residency mini-rotations take place in Topeka, Garden City, Hays, Manhattan, Pratt, Pittsburg, and other locations in Kansas. Nearly every clinical department at the Medical Center offers residency programs.
The Medical Center’s facilities are continually updated and expanded to keep abreast of the most modern teaching and treatment techniques.
The state-of-the-art, $57.2 million, Life Sciences Innovation Center on the KUMC campus was opened in January of 2007. The five-story, 205,000-square-foot facility shows the new heights reached in life sciences research for the greater Kansas City community, Kansas and the region.
The $5.5-million basic sciences facility, Orr-Major Hall, was dedicated in 1976. This building includes classrooms, laboratories, an auditorium, and a learning resources center.
Completed in 1979, the $61.5-million University of Kansas Hospital, brings nearly all the diagnostic and treatment facilities of the Medical Center under one roof. The building eases and speeds coordination between departments and enables the staff and employees to give patients the best possible care. The hospital offers complete primary and tertiary care for patients of all ages from obstetrical and newborn to geriatric care, and care for a range of problems from traumatic injuries to long-term and chronic conditions.
The Archie R. Dykes Library for Health Sciences, which opened in 1983, contains more than 171,000 print volumes, 61,000 print monographs, 14,000 Springer-Verlag e-books, 575 print journals, 15,000 electronic journal titles in the biomedical and related health sciences. The library serves the educational and research needs of Medical Center students and faculty and the public. Membership in a national interlibrary loan program ensures that students and faculty at all Kansas state colleges and universities and health professionals in Kansas have access to this collection, as well as to the collections of other libraries across the nation. Computer searches of health-related data bases are available to students, faculty, and Kansas health professionals. As the result of a major renovation project completed Fall 2005, there is a 120 seat testing center, 2 computer ready classrooms, new study rooms, wireless connectivity, network printing both wireless and wired. Approximately 100 student workstations are located in Dykes Library, Orr Major, and the Student Service Center providing software such as Microsoft Office apps, EndNote, SPSS, SAS, and course specific software. There are a number of scanners available for use when in the library. Formal instruction is available for students, faculty and staff on the use of productivity software, copyright management, library resources. One can register for a session or review a session and the handouts at http://www2.kumc.edu/comptraining/ . Biomedical librarians work closely with faculty in each of the schools and are always ready to work with students and faculty in fulfilling critical information needs.
The renowned Clendening History of Medicine Library has one of the top five collections of rare medical books in the country. The library contains more than 25,000 first or early editions of almost all important works in medical literature.
The Division of Student Services includes the following offices: Dean of Students, Office of the Registrar, Student Health Services, Counseling and Educational Support Services, Student Financial Aid, Student Engagement, and the Kirmayer Fitness Center. The Student Center Building is located at the corner of Olathe and Rainbow Blvd and also houses student study spaces and a lounge. Visit http://www.kumc.edu/studentcenter/ for more information..
Next to the student center is the Division of Health Care Outreach and Continuing Education. KU has offered postgraduate study in medicine almost continuously since 1911. Currently, the Division of Health Care Outreach and Continuing Education offers seminars, clinical traineeships, and programs for doctors and other health professionals.
Kirmayer Fitness Center is a two-story, 46,000-square-foot facility at the southeast corner of Rainbow and Olathe Boulevards. It promotes physical fitness and wellness among members of the KU Medical Center. All students automatically become members with payment of a fee. Fitness and recreation programs include land aerobics, water aerobics, tai-chi, yoga, karate, weight watchers at work, and intramural leagues in volleyball, basketball, softball, and racquetball/ squash, among others. Information is available from (913) 588-1KFC (1532) during business hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Regular hours are Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 12 to 9 p.m. Special holiday and other hours may be announced. The Kirmayer Fitness Center is for faculty, staff, students, and alumni of KU Medical Center and their spouses.