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Our History and Commitment to Learning
When construction began on the present-day Davis Administration Building in June 1886, the building was intended to last three centuries with no compromises in its construction.
As Davis’ creators expected the building to be standing 300 years later, so did the founder of Friends University expect his university to be all that he had envisioned and more: uncompromised; stable; excellent.
In 1898, James M. Davis, a wealthy businessman and native Kansan, purchased the former Garfield University for the sum of $50,000. Davis immediately offered the building to the Kansas Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends, fulfilling his dream of “Christian education of the youth of the Great Southwest.”
The Friends University name and heritage is Quaker, but the institution’s mission is to serve all individuals of all denominations. In the 1930s, governance of the University was vested in an independent Board of Trustees so that the Society of Friends no longer controlled the institution. The University continues to operate in an amicable but independent relationship with the founding denomination. The University continues to nurture the values of the Christian church and places great store by them.
Friends University has continued to grow and develop and today is a strong, vital, independent university for Wichita and for Kansas. Located just west of downtown Wichita, in the heart of Kansas, Friends is the largest independent university in the state.
Friends University remains firmly committed to its central core - the arts and sciences. A broad-based education, one that truly expands the horizons and frees the mind, is our purpose for every student. It is also expressed in our commitment to teaching and to the personal growth of each Friends University student.
Friends University, a Christian University of Quaker heritage, equips students to honor God and serve others by integrating their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.
We believe that the underlying mission of all higher education is the search for truth. Grounded in the Christian intellectual tradition and our Quaker heritage, we affirm that truth is of and from God, and that our search is lifelong.
We insist that the search for truth be characterized by excellence and informed by integrity. Excellence demands that our best is always becoming better, and integrity means that we are honest with ourselves and with others. In our practice of excellence and integrity, we each take responsibility for what we do and say.
As searchers and learners, we support curiosity and research, and assign great value to diversity of experience. As people who value such diversity and openness, we approach new situations and people with good will and humility. We believe in equity and in the dignity of all people.
As a community, we accept and cherish our responsibility to care for one another in our learning and working relationships. We understand that a part of that care must be to become better stewards of what we have been given. We take care of the future as if we already are there.
Friends University will become a regional university with national programs and an international presence.
Friends University believes that it can fulfill its mission by adhering to the following purposes:
- To provide the opportunity for high-quality learning experiences
- To encourage exploration of values – personal, ethical, religious and professional – as enriched by the Christian faith
- To provide a liberal arts foundation that will prepare students for life in a diverse and changing world
- To provide liberal arts and professional offerings to a diverse population of students in delivery modes that are appropriate and varied
- To provide a learning environment that encourages open communication, collaboration, ethical standards and lifelong learning
If we fulfill our mission and our purpose, all graduates of Friends University will be able to demonstrate the following outcomes.
- The ability to read, write and speak appropriately and effectively;
- The ability to use mathematical concepts to solve problems;
- The ability to explain at least part of the natural world through scientific processes;
- The ability to use computers and understand developing technology in a contemporary society;
- An understanding of the arts and humanities as fields of study that contribute to our growth both individually and corporately;
- An understanding of Christian faith in the context of contemporary existence;
- An understanding of the geography, politics, beliefs and customs of the United States and at least one culture outside the United States;
- An understanding of the major concepts of the behavioral and social sciences;
- Competency in basic research-related skills;
- The ability to respectfully engage persons whose culture, ideas and beliefs differ from their own in recognition of our human diversity.
- Mastery of the level of knowledge appropriate to the degree attained.
Friends University is organized into three colleges: the College of Business, Arts, Sciences, and Education; the College of Adult and Professional Studies; and the Graduate School.
The College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education encompasses the following academic divisions: Business and Information Technology, Education, Fine Arts, Natural Science and Mathematics, Religion and Humanities, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
The College of Adult and Professional Studies includes the following majors and degree completion programs: Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Accounting, Human Resource Management, Organizational Management & Transformational Change and Integrated Studies.
The Graduate School includes the following master’s degree programs: Christian Ministry, Environmental Studies, Global Leadership and Management, Health Care Leadership, Management Information Systems, Organization Development, Teaching, Business Administration, Business Administration in Accounting, Operations Management, Business Law, and Family Therapy.
Since the 1930s, Friends University has been guided by a Board of Trustees. Dr. Darcy Zabel is the University’s Interim president. Dr. Zabel oversees the operation of the University with the help of the President’s Cabinet. The Cabinet is comprised of the President; Vice President of Academic Affairs; Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Vice President of Administration and Finance; Vice President of Student Affairs; Vice President of Enrollment Management; Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs-University Registrar; Associate Vice President of Administration and Finance; Dean of the Graduate School; Dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies; Dean of the College of Business, Arts, Sciences, and Education; Director of Topeka Educational Center and Northeast Region; Executive Director of Information Technology, Chair of the Faculty Senate, Chair of the Staff Assembly and the Athletic Director.
The academic program is directed by the colleges and their faculty. The Academic Cabinet has representatives from each college to handle the decision-making process with items presented by the Graduate School; College of Adult and Professional Studies; and the College of Business, Arts, Sciences, and Education. Other committees such as the Professional Education Board or other standing committees support the work of the Academic Council for the two colleges and the graduate school.
Education Beyond a Textbook
As an institution founded in the liberal arts, it is not only important that students receive a broad-based education at Friends, but that they are also given opportunities to apply this education in their personal and professional lives. Students are encouraged to integrate their education beyond the classroom through internships; research projects; experiential learning opportunities; study abroad, and participation in athletics, performing arts, and student organizations. At Friends, students can receive a high-quality education and the foundation needed to be lifelong learners.
Adair-Austin Stadium, Hoyt Athletic Field, and Biff Green Track are home to the football team as well as the men’s and women’s soccer teams and track and field teams. The stadium capacity is 2,600 spectators.
Casado Campus Center houses the dining hall, intramural gymnasium, snack bar, meeting room, University bookstore, the Student Government Association offices, Career Services, Health Services, ADA Office, Orientation, International Student Services and exercise area.
College of Adult and Professional Studies/Information Services facility houses personnel for the College of Adult and Professional Studies as well as for the University’s Information Services departments.
Davis Administration Building - Best known for its clock tower seen throughout west Wichita, this building was constructed in 1886. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This five-story building contains Alumni Auditorium; classrooms; and the President’s, Admissions, Adult Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, Financial Aid, Alumni, University Relations offices, and Campus Ministries.
Edmund Stanley Library was built in 1969 and houses more than 100,000 volumes, Internet and information resources, accessible computers, multimedia room and equipment, digital and multimedia configured classrooms, and Quaker and Friends University archives.
Falcon Flats provides 12 apartments for CBASE student housing.
Falcon Glenn is a new housing facility for 50 CBASE students on the corner of Glenn and Mentor.
Forrest C. Lattner Tennis Courts - These courts were dedicated in 1995 and allow Friends University to host men’s and women’s tournaments on campus.
Friends Village is a CBASE student apartment complex with 47 apartments. The Residence Life office is located in this building.
Garvey Art Center (on campus) & 122 Walnut, Delano District (off campus) houses an art gallery, general shop, ceramic area, metalsmithing area, photography lab, commercial art room, painting and drawing area, computer lab, and a lecture hall.
Garvey Physical Education Center - Home to the Friends Falcons, this facility contains basketball courts, racquetball courts, classrooms, faculty offices and a multipurpose recreational room. The men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball team play their home games in this center.
Green Residence Hall, completed in 2004, houses more than 180 CBASE students in suites.
J.R. and Gertrude Smith Apartments, completed in 2009, houses 80 upperclassmen in an apartment-style atmosphere.
Marriage and Family Therapy facility - Opened in 2000, this building houses the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program and the Center on Family Living.
Olive White Garvey Business and Technology Building - Opened in fall 1996, this building provides state-of-the-art facilities for the University’s business programs. The building features 12 classrooms, eight computer labs equipped with the latest technology, faculty offices, a conference room and a snack bar.
Sumpter Hall houses the offices for Administration and Finance, Human Resources, Cashier, Student Account Services and University Registrar.
Rockcleft Camp is owned and operated by the University and provides a unique setting for classroom experiences and personal enrichment activities. It is located between Manitou Springs and Woodland Park, Colo. Retreats are scheduled during the summer.
Dr. Cecil J. Riney Fine Arts Center and Sebits Fine Arts Addition serves the areas of music and dance with classrooms, music and ballet studios, a music library, and a large recital hall. The center also houses Alexander Auditorium, which is used for recitals, lectures and dramatic productions.
William Penn Science Building and Sebits Science Hall is home to the biology, chemistry, mathematics and zoo science programs. This building contains laboratories, classrooms and faculty offices.
Site Locations - In addition to the campus in Wichita, Friends University has two permanent sites in Topeka and Lenexa. Friends University is able to offer various programs in 27 other locations throughout Kansas.
Friends University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604-1411, 312-263- 0456, www.ncahlc.org.
Friends University’s Carnegie classification is Masters I.
The Music Department holds membership in the National Association of Schools of Music, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, Suite 21, Reston, VA, 703-437-0700.
The Teacher Education Program at Friends University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), 2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036-1023, 202-466-7496 and the Kansas State Board of Education, 120 SE 10th Avenue, Topeka, KS, 66612-1182, 785-296-4073.
The Master of Science in Family Therapy at Friends University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 112 S. Alfred St., Alexandria, VA 22314, 703-838-9808.
Friends University is a comprehensive, independent university located in Wichita. It is the largest independent institution of higher learning in Kansas. Founded in 1898, Friends provides a non-denominational Christian environment for students of all ages.
Location: Friends University’s main campus is located in Wichita. The beautiful, park-like, 54-acre campus exists in a quiet residential community, which offers easy access to the benefits of a large city. In addition to the Wichita campus, Friends University also has Educational Centers located in Topeka and Lenexa/Greater Kansas City that offer programs to adult students. Friends also offers these programs in other cities around the state.
Enrollment: The University’s Fall 2011 enrollment of 2,905 students makes Friends one of the largest independent universities or colleges in Kansas. Classes are small, ranging in size from as few as 10 to a maximum of 50. The student population is diverse, with a variety of ages, states and cultures represented.
Religious Affiliation: A non-denominational Christian university, Friends is not affiliated with a specific religious organization. The University was originally founded in 1898 by the Society of Friends (better known as the Quakers) who operated the University until the 1930s. At that time, governance of the institution was turned over to an independent Board of Trustees. Representatives from the Society of Friends continue to serve on the board, but the church no longer controls the institution. Friends University provides a welcoming Christian environment for students of all denominations.
President: Dr. Darcy Zabel (Interim)
School Colors: Scarlet and Gray
Athletic Teams: Friends University Falcons
Mascot: Freddy Falcon
Friends University has been named one of the Best 150 Colleges in the Midwest by The Princeton Review.
When it was built in the late 1800s Davis Administration Building (then known as University Hall) was the largest educational facility under one roof west of the Mississippi. The Romanesque building is best known for its 148-foot clock tower.
Friends is one of only a handful of colleges and universities that offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet. Another program unique among higher education is the Bachelor of Science in zoo science program. This program features a partnership with the Sedgwick County Zoo.
Friends has made a significant commitment to improving facilities, landscaping and technology for the benefit of students during the past 10 years. Students have access to state-of-the-art technology that is the most advanced among Kansas private institutions.
Landscaping improvements have greatly enhanced the park-like appearance of campus, including the creation of the Rose Window Plaza area in front of Davis Administration Building.
The historic Davis Administration Building has undergone an extensive restoration to ensure the Wichita landmark will be able to serve students for another 100 years.
Friends University’s Singing Quakers are an internationally acclaimed vocal organization. The group has performed at the White House and Carnegie Hall and has toured nationally and internationally.
Friends was one of the first colleges and universities in Kansas to offer a unique program specifically structured to allow adults to complete their bachelor’s or master’s degree coursework in two years or less by attending class one night a week. Friends has maintained reasonable, moderate tuition increases in recent years. In 1990, the University was the third most expensive private institution of higher education in Kansas. Today, Friends is in ninth place in a ranking of tuition and fees among 16 private universities and colleges in Kansas.
Friends University’s endowment has grown from $3 million in 1990 to approximately $40 million in 2012.
Friends celebrated its Centennial from September 1998 to May 1999.