Past Colleges & Universities of Kansas

Western University in Quindaro, Kansas.

Western University in Quindaro, Kansas.

Name Location Type Years Information
Art Institutes International Lenexa Private 2008-2019
Art Institutes International-Kansas City in Lenexa, Kansas.

Art Institutes International-KC

The Art Institutes offered programs at the certificate, associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. By 2012, there were 50 campuses nationwide with roughly 80,000 enrolled students. The for-profit college chain was owned by a large company that faced allegations of illegal recruiting practices across 39 states and Washington, D.C., and numerous lawsuits alleging fraud. The company ultimately agreed to a historic $95 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Kansas had only one school within the system – The Art Institutes International-Kansas City. In 2011, it had an enrollment of 560. It opened in 2008 and closed in 2019. It was located at 8208 Melrose Drive in Lenexa, Kansas.

Atchison Business College Atchison Private 1885-?? The school fielded a college football team for at least two years in1892 and 1902.
Atchinson College Institute Atchison Private 1871-1885 Mrs. Harriet E. Monroe founded the Atchison College Institute in Atchison, Kansas, in 1870 and erected a building at the northwest corner of Third and Kansas Avenue in 1871. Mrs. Monroe was a remarkable woman who was highly educated, a lady of refinement and culture, and spent much time on the lecture platform. During her 13 years at the Atchison College Institute, she had 2,621 students under her charge.
Baptist College Pratt Private 1891-1893
Bethel Bible College Topeka Private 1900-1901 Sometimes called the “Parham School of Tongues,” it was founded by evangelist Charles Fox Parham.
Bissing’s Conservatory of Music Hays &
Private 1901-?? Violinist Petrowitsch Bissing established this school. It began in Hays and relocated later to Topeka. It was still operating as of 1918.
Blue Mont Central College Manhattan Private 1858-1863
Bluemont College in Manhattan, Kansas.

Bluemont College

Blue Mont Central College was a private Methodist institution of higher learning. It was incorporated in February 1858 and was the forerunner of Kansas State University. Kansas State University named Bluemont Hall to honor the college.

Bresee Theological College Hutchinson Private 1905-1940 It closed in 1940 to merge with Bethany-Peniel College.
Brown Mackie College Salina Private 1892-2020 The first Brown Mackie location was founded in 1892 as Kansas Wesleyan College and later known as the Kansas Wesleyan School of Business. It changed ownership in 1938 and became the Brown Mackie School of Business. Between the 1930s and 1990s, the school in Salina and other schools that would later carry the Brown Mackie name were managed by several different organizations before being purchased by American Education Centers in 1993. In 2003, Education Management Corporation acquired 18 schools, including the original Brown Mackie College, and rebranded them all under the Brown Mackie name the following year. Throughout the mid-to-late 2000s, the university system was expanded by constructing new Brown Mackie colleges. Education Management Corporation reported owning 28 Brown Mackie College campuses and enrolled 17,000 students in May 2013. In June 2016, Education Management Corporation announced plans to close all but four Brown Mackie campuses due to severe drops in enrollment following lawsuits that cost the college system millions, damaged its reputation, and jeopardized its accreditation. Enrolled students were allowed to finish their degrees before closing. The college building in Salina closed in 2020. Today, the building houses a NAPA Auto Parts Store.
Brown Mackie Lenexa Private 1892-2020 This location was a branch of the Salina campus. It was located at 9705 Lenexa Dr, Lenexa. The building is used by another corporation today. (See Salina Brown Mackie above.)
Campbell College Holton Private 1880-1913
Campbell College in Holton, Kansas.

Campbell College

Campbell College was the successor-in-interest to Lane University in Lecompton. It merged with Kansas City University, which later also closed.

Central Normal College Great Bend Independent 1888-1902
Central Normal School in Great Bend, Kansas.

Central Normal School

This independent normal school opened in 1888, with D.E. Sanders as president and William Stryker as principal. The school then enrolled 400 students. In 1898, the Central Normal College company was organized and purchased the property, which initially cost about $40,000. The company engaged a competent faculty, reorganized the institution with Porter Young as president, and broadened the scope of the college. Under the new management, eight courses of study were introduced, including reparatory, common school teachers’, special science, scientific, classical, pedagogical, oratorical, and commercial. There was also a special course in shorthand and typewriting.

College of Emporia Emporia Private 1882-1974
Kenyon Hall in Emporia, Kansas.

Kenyon Hall

Associated with the Presbyterian church, when this college was founded, it was one of two higher education institutions in Emporia. The other was the “Kansas State Normal School,” established for teacher training and later became Emporia State University. The College of Emporia was a small liberal arts college on the west side of Emporia. By the early 1970s, enrollment declined, and in the fall of 1973, the trustees were forced to close the college at the end of the semester. The Way purchased the campus for $694,000 in 1975, and this group operated the campus until 1989. Afterward, it was sold to a local investment group, and the buildings were repurposed, including Kenyon Hall, which was renovated for housing for senior citizens.

College of the Sisters of Bethany Topeka State then Private 1861-1928
College of the Sisters of Bethany in Topeka, Kansas.

College of the Sisters of Bethany

Chartered before Kansas became a state, this school was initially named the Episcopal Female Seminary of Topeka, but its name changed after it was re-chartered in 1870. The school operated under the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas church until it closed in 1928.

Concordia Normal School Concordia State 1874-1876
Concordia Normal School

Concordia Normal School

Concordia Normal School began on March 10, 1874, with Professor E. F. Robinson as its principal. Ex-State Superintendent H. D. McCarty was made president in the second year. The school opened for students on September 16 that year. There were 66 students enrolled in the first year, and in 1875, enrollment more than doubled to 171. Following the Miscellaneous Appropriations Bill of 1876, normal state schools were consolidated into the Emporia Normal School, which later became Emporia State University.

Conway Springs Normal and Business College Conway Springs ?? 1890-1894
Draughon’s Practical Business College Fort Scott Private ?? Draughon’s Practical Business College opened in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1900. During its more than 90 years of operation, it offered various courses ranging from typing and shorthand to servicing television and radio equipment.
Emporia Business College Emporia ?? ??
Enoch Marvin College Oskaloosa Private 1878-1880 The Methodist Episcopal Church South established it. In about 1904, the school was torn down, and a high school building was erected on the site.
Entre Nous College McCracken ?? 1906-1912 This school was founded by Howard Robert Barnard, nephew of Henry Barnard, the first U.S. Commissioner of Education, and Frederick Barnard, founder of Barnard College (now part of Columbia University).
Fort Scott Normal School Fort Scott ??
1878-1899 It was also called Kansas Normal School.
Freedman’s University Quindaro ?? 1867-1881 In 1872, the Kansas legislature established the Colored Normal School as part of Freedman’s University. The university was later acquired by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and renamed Western University.
Garfield University Wichita Private 1887-1890
Garfield University in Wichita, Kansas by L.H. Everts & Co.,1887.

Garfield University

In 1885, the Christian Churches of Kansas voted to establish an institution of higher learning, and in July 1886, work began on the building. It was named Garfield University in honor of the martyred President, James A. Garfield, a Christian Church member and a friend of Dr. W.B. Hendryx, pastor of Wichita’s Central Christian Church. Garfield University opened its doors in September 1887. One class graduated in 1890. Then, two crop failures in Kansas forced the 380 Christian Churches of the State to close the school because of lack of funds, and the great unfinished structure stood empty. It was later acquired by James M. and Anna Davis, who donated it to Friends University.

G.A.R. Memorial National College Oberlin Private 1890-1893 Established by five women of the Women’s Relief Corps and endorsed by the Grand Army of the Republic posts of Kansas for the free education of soldiers’ and sailors’ children. It was said to have been the only such college of its kind in the United States.
Gould College Harlan Private 1881-1888  A United Brethren school, it was named for Jay Gould, who owned part of the Union Pacific Railroad.
Great Western Business and Normal College Concordia Private 1889-?? Founded by L.H. Hausam, it was sometimes called Concordia Business College. This private school was different from the state-operated Concordia Normal School. The college eventually moved its operations to Webb City, Missouri.
Harper Normal and Business College Harper Private 1914-1924 Arkansas Christian College purchased the Churches of Christ assets, the predecessor to Harding College in Searcy, Arkansas.
Hobson Normal Institute Parsons ?? 1882-1895
Iola Business College Iola ?? 1899-??
Kansas Christian College Lincoln Private 1885-1913
Kansas Christian College in Lincoln, Kansas.

Kansas Christian College

Established under the auspices of the Christian church in 1882, it began classes in 1885. It was incorporated in 1888 with a property valuation of about $15,000. The main building was two stories tall and contained classrooms and a laboratory. While the Christian church supervised the school, it was non-sectarian. Five courses of study were provided: classical, scientific, normal, commercial, and musical. During the first ten years, its growth was relatively slow, with only 84 students being enrolled in 1893, but afterward, it grew.

Kansas City Baptist Theological Seminary Kansas City Private 1901-?? This school later became a part of Central Baptist Theological Seminary of Kansas City.
Kansas City College of Physicians and Surgeons Kansas City ?? 1894-1905
Kansas City Medical College

Kansas City Medical College

Merged with what is now the University of Kansas to become K.U. Med Center.

Kansas City University Kansas City Private 1896-1932
St. Augustine Hall in Kansas City, Kansas.

St. Augustine Hall

Kansas City University was a private Methodist university in Kansas City, Kansas, that was founded in 1896. Due to lack of funds, it was closed in 1932

Kansas Medical College Topeka ?? 1890-1902 It became a department of Washburn University.
Kansas Technical Institute Salina State 1965-1991 The Kansas Technical Institute was a two-year technical college located in Salina, Kansas, and was the predecessor of Kansas State Polytechnic. The school was created in 1965 by the Kansas Legislature and originally was named “Schilling Institute” because the campus was located on part of the former Schilling Air Force Base. It merged with Kansas State University to form Kansas State University – Salina College of Technology and Aviation.
Lane University Lecompton Private 1865-1902
Lane University in Lecompton, Kansas by Kathy Alexander.

Lane University

Founded by Reverend Solomon Weaver, the first president, and was named after U.S. Senator James H. Lane, a Free-State leader. It merged with Campbell College, which later also closed. Today, the building is a museum known as the Territorial Capital Museum, dedicated to Kansas history before the Civil War. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lawrence Business College Lawrence ?? 1869-??
Lawrence Business College Interior, 1912.

Lawrence Business College Interior, 1912.

Established by W.H. McCauley, this was the first business college in Kansas. The school was located on the third and fourth floors of the Lawrence National Bank building. The large enrollment numbers that grew each year forced it to move to another location. Between 1900 and 1920, newspapers like the Lawrence Daily Journal-World and The Topeka Daily Capital had an entire page dedicated to the benefits of attending the school. The college taught young men and women the tools to enter the business world successfully. It is unknown when and why the college shut down.

Leavenworth Business College Leavenworth ?? 1887-??
Leavenworth Normal School Leavenworth State 1870-1876 In response to a general appeal for the founding of additional Normal Schools, the legislature of 1870 provided for one at Leavenworth. The city furnished the buildings, and the school was organized with John Wherrell as president. In 1874, there were 100 students. In 1876, the normal schools of Kansas were consolidated into the Emporia Normal School, which later became Emporia State University.
Manhattan Business College Manhattan ?? 1908-1924
Marymount College Salina Private 1922-1989
Marymount College in Salina, Kansas, about 1925.

Marymount College

A four-year liberal arts college opened in 1922 as a women’s college. The Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas, operated it. The original college was a three-story building that overlooked the Smoky Hill River. The single building on its 30-acre campus dominated the city’s eastern edge. The records were sent to St. Mary of the Plains College, which is also closed.

Midland College Atchison Private 1887-1962 In 1919, the College moved to Fremont, Nebraska, to the former Fremont Normal School and Business College site. In 1962, Midland merged with Luther Junior College, founded in Wahoo, Nebraska, in 1883. Midland College then became Midland Lutheran College.
Miltonvale Wesleyan College Miltonvale Private 1909-1972
Miltonvale Wesleyan College

Miltonvale Wesleyan College

It ceased operation in 1972 when the school merged with Bartlesville Wesleyan College in Oklahoma. It later became a part of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. The school began operation in 1909 under Reverend Silas W. Bond and ceased operation in 1972 when it merged with Bartlesville Wesleyan College, which later became part of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

Modern Normal College Marysville ?? 1892-1904 It was listed in a directory published in 1905.
Moline College Moline ?? ??
Morrill Normal College Morrill ?? 1882-1888
Mount Carmel College Scipio Private 1876-1884  A Catholic college.
National American University Overland Park Private 2018-2019 National American University is a private, for-profit online university with an additional location at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. In 2018, it acquired the assets of Henley-Putnam University and now offers strategic security programs. Most of the school’s academic programs are on the 11-week quarter system and have monthly starts. This college was initially called the “National School of Business” in 1941. It later changed its name to National College of Business, then National College, before adopting its current name. It was located in Wycliff West Shopping Center at 0310 Mastin Street in Overland Park, Kansas.
National Business College Coffeyville ?? ??
National Business College Hiawatha ?? ??
National Business College Kansas City ?? ??
Nemaha Commercial College Seneca ?? 1900-??
Nickerson Normal School/Nickerson College Nickerson State 1898-1918 The Nickerson Normal College opened on August 30, 1898, with an enrollment of 78 students, which increased to 281 by the close of the year, June 9, 1899. It was taken over by Reno County High School in 1903, and its name was changed to Nickerson College. In 1911, the Reno County High School became a North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools member. C.L. Cole was the principal at that time.
Oswego College for Young Ladies Oswego Private 1885-1920
Edwards House in Oswego, Kansas.

Edwards House in Oswego.

Sometimes referred to as Oswego College, this school was operated by the Neosho Presbytery. Plagued by enrollment problems, the College closed in 1920 and sold its property to the Kansas Military Academy in 1922. The Italianate-style Edwards House, built in about 1874 as a private residence and surrounding property, is the last remaining vestige of the college. In 1885, the property was deeded to the Oswego College for Young Ladies. The house was a part of the military academy’s campus for two years before an adjacent classroom and dormitory building suffered a devastating fire. The military school subsequently sold the property, and it again became a private residence. It was added to the Kansas State Register of Historic Places in February 2014. It is located at 910 Ohio Street, south of Highway 96 on College Street.

Ottawa Business College Ottawa ?? ??
Ottumwa College Ottumwa Private 1864-1872 The Methodist Episcopal Church organized it and was later under the control of the Christian Church. Its only building burned to the ground on July 24, 1872.
Parsons Business College Parsons ?? 1892-??
Pittsburg Business College Pittsburg ?? 1894-?? In 1908, the school had a football team, which lost one game to the local college team, Pittsburg State University.
President’s College School of Law Wichita ?? 1994-2003 Friends University acquired some resources.
Salina Normal University Salina ?? 1884-1904
Salina Normal University

Salina Normal University

This independent, coeducational school offered collegiate, normal, business, science, and fine arts courses. The university’s first proprietor was Alexander Hopkins, who closed his East Illinois College in Danville, Illinois, and brought some students and faculty with him. The building was constructed on College Street, at the western end of Iron Avenue, for $40,000. It opened with a record-breaking initial enrollment for a Normal School of 60. The building had 57 rooms, with the ground floor measuring 100 by 65 feet. It had two wings: a dormitory wing, able to house 60–75 students, and a college wing that could accommodate 500-600 students. The campus grounds occupied six acres. It was destroyed by fire in 1904 and was not rebuilt. At that time, it had 400 students.

Salt City Business College Hutchinson ?? 1879-1979
Salt City Business College, Hutchison, Kansas.

Salt City Business College

The Salt City Business College moved several times and, at one point, was located at the southwest corner of Ave A and Main Street. The school continued to grow, and in 1910 moved into a new building on the northeast corner of A and Walnut Streets. To reach classes on the second floor, students would enter from the south through a marbled entrance. The school offered classes in accounting, bookkeeping, and business operations. The school also had a band and basketball teams. The school began to decline in the mid-1970s and closed down in 1979, its 100th year. The building still stands.

Skelton’s School of Telegraphy and Railway Business Salina ?? 1887-1909 An early adopter of teaching both telegraph and typewriter skills to students. It became a Union Pacific Railroad school in 1909 and was turned over to Kansas Wesleyan Business College.
Soule College Dodge City Private 1894-1903
Soule College in Dodge City, Kansas.

Soule College

This school was founded by Asa Titus Soule, a native of Rochester, New York, who made his fortune and reputation as the “Hop Bitters King” by peddling a patent medicine of Hop Bitters. Looking for a place to invest his newfound millions, he traveled west to Kansas. He initially invested in a scheme to build an irrigation ditch across western Kansas but soon decided to invest in higher education. In 1886, Soule partially endowed a new Presbyterian college in Dodge City with $50,000, thus giving birth to Soule College. The college advertised board for $2 per week and $24 per year tuition. After the school closed, the property was eventually purchased by St. Mary of the Plains College, which closed in 1992.

St. John’s College Winfield Private 1893-1986
St. John's Lutheran College in Winfield, Kansas.

St. John’s Lutheran College

This was a two-year college that the Lutheran Church of Missouri operated. The school began operation in 1893 under the English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and other states and ceased operation in 1986 after over 9,000 students had been through its programs. Enrollment peaked in 1951 with 467 students. The church wanted to consolidate the college with its other schools, but the college administration was able to forestall that option for several years. Finally, during the spring 1986 semester, the school announced that it would be closing at the end of the semester. It maintains an active alumni association. Baden Hall, the original Seventh Avenue and College Street building, has been converted to apartments. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Mary of the Plains College Dodge City Private 1913-1992 St. Mary of the Plains College was a four-year liberal arts college in Dodge City, Kansas, that closed in 1992. It maintains an active alumni association.

Hennessy Hall at St. Marys of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas.

St. Marys of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas.

St. Mary’s College St. Marys Private 1848-1931
Potawatomi Mission at St. Marys, Kansas by Alexander Gardner, 1867.

Pottawatomi Mission

The Jesuits founded the original St. Mary’s College in 1848 as an Indian mission. The school is the site of the first cathedral west of the Missouri River and east of the Rocky Mountains. When the Potawatomi Indians left, the Jesuits turned it into a boarding school for boys until it closed during the Great Depression. After 1931, the 465-acre plot hosted the divinity school of St. Louis University. With the movement of seminaries to the city after Vatican II, the land was sold, and the Jesuit divinity school returned to St. Louis in 1967. A second College presently exists at the same location, also named St. Mary’s College.

Stockton Normal School Stockton ?? 1887-1901
The Way College of Emporia Emporia 1975 1989 It is in the same location as the College of Emporia. It attempted a legal battle to gain the previous college’s endowment and lost. Enrollment dwindled to around 90 students.
Topeka Business and Normal College Topeka ?? 1884 1890  The Normal program may’ve been dropped after 1885. It was sold, and the name changed to Strickler’s Topeka Business College.
Ursuline College Paola Private 1896-1971
Ursuline Sisters campus in Paola, Kansas.

Ursuline Sisters campus.

Ursuline Academy opened in 1896 as a parochial and boarding school. The Ursuline sisters’ convent was on the 36-acre campus from 1895 to 2008, when the 23 remaining sisters merged with the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. Joseph in Maple Mount, Kentucky. The campus auditorium was given to the city of Paola and is now the Paola Community Center. The motherhouse is now home to Arista Recovery, a rehabilitation facility for people recovering from drug or alcohol addictions. The grounds along Wea Street feature the picturesque motherhouse, cemetery, and Paola Community Center building, previously a part of Ursuline Academy.

Utopia College Eureka Private 1946-1970
Utopia College building in Eureka, Kansas.

Utopia College

A two-year college that granted certificates but not diplomas. It was established in 1946 by Roger Babson to bring practical business instruction to other parts of the United States. Graduates were invited to complete their baccalaureate degrees at Babson College. The name was changed in 1955 to Midwest Institute of Business Administration. Due to declining enrollment, the school closed permanently in 1970. The building still stands at the corner of East 5th Street and North St. Nicholas Street in Eureka, Kansas.

Walden College  McPherson Private 1905-1914 A Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant, the first classes were held in McPherson opera house. Science Hall was completed in 1906. The buildings were sold to Orleans Seminary to become Central Academy and College.
Western Business College and Normal School Hutchinson ?? 1885-1889  It was initially known as Arkansas Valley Business College. It is believed to have merged with Hutchinson Normal College.
Western Musical Conservatory Emporia ?? 1871-?? Listing found
Western Theological Seminary Atchison Private 1893-?? This Evangelical Lutheran College was listed as operational as of 1902.
Western University Quindaro Private 1864-1943 Earliest historically black college or university west of the Mississippi River. The buildings are gone today.

Western University in Quindaro, Kansas.

Western University

Wichita Business College Wichita ?? 1901-?? Wichita Business College was a vocational school governed by the Kansas State Department of Education. The school had a football team in 1901 and 1902. The school offered a curriculum consisting of computer programming, accounting, bookkeeping, court reporting, drafting, career secretarial, and receptionist programs. In the 1980s, an action was brought under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and the federal Truth in Lending Act for the deceptive practices of Wichita Business College. In June 1985, the jury found the college had committed four separate violations of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and found actual damages of $2,000.
Wichita Commercial College Wichita ?? 1893-?? In October 1920, its name was changed to American Business College.
Wichita University Wichita Private 1886-1893 A German Reformed Church, it had a faculty of 15 in 1892. The Sisters of St. Joseph later used the building as a convent and orphanage until it burned in 1913.
Windsor Commercial College Fort Scott ?? 1897-??
Winfield Business College and Normal Institute Winfield ?? 1895-?? While the college did operate, there is no evidence the normal institute had any graduates.
Wright Career College Overland Park ?? 1921-2016 Founded as Dickinson’s Business School. In 2016, 1,000 students and 200 staff members at five campus locations were affected when the school abruptly closed its doors. All students were notified by email on a Thursday evening that the school would not be open the next day.

Compiled by Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated April 2024.

Also See:

Education in Kansas

Every Place in Kansas

Kansas Main Page

One-Room, Country, & Historic Schools of Kansas


Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.
Connelley, William E.; A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Lewis, Chicago, 1918.
Digital Doulas County
Friends University
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