Campus Memorials

The 5K route will follow Memorial Drive, which passes each of the five war memorials on campus. They go in order of: Memorial Studium and the Kansas Union (WWI), Campanile Bell Tower (WWII), the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.


Memorial Stadium

In 1889 students and faculty members organized the University Athletic Board to oversee competition in football, baseball and tennis with nearby colleges. KU’s games were played on fields at a city park on Massachusetts Street, and the board began trying to raise interest in a university stadium and a gymnasium. After Col. John James McCook, a Harvard-educated New York lawyer, gave the commencement address in 1890 and watched a faculty-student baseball game at the park, he donated $2,500 for a university playing field.

Kansas Union

The need for a central meeting, entertainment and food service building had been discussed for several years before planning began for a union and stadium to honor the students, faculty, staff and alumni who died in World War I. Fund-raising for the Million Dollar Drive began in late 1920, and by late 1921 the first sections of a new stadium were completed on the site of McCook Field below Marvin Grove.


A badly needed fieldhouse was among the proposals for a commemoration to honor members of the university community and alumni who died in World War II. Chancellor Deane Malott and others were determined to build a structure that was purely a memorial and was not designed to fill a need of the university, as had been done after World War I with the stadium and the union. The bronze doors at the north and south entrances of the Memorial Campanile were dedicated June 6, 1955. Each of the four doors, cast at foundries in Mexico City, is 9 feet tall and 3 feet 3 inches wide and contains three panels. The images were designed to be viewed from bottom right to top left.

Korean War

This memorial, honoring 44 members of the university community who died in that conflict, was dedicated April 16, 2005. The brick and stone terrace overlooks Potter Lake west of the campanile. Its centerpiece is a 7-foot copper sculpture, “Korean Cranes Rising,” by design professor Jon Havener. The four entwined cranes, ancient symbols of peace in the Korean culture, represent the four nations in the conflict: the United States, China, North Korea and South Korea.

Vietnam War

On May 25, 1986, dedication ceremonies were held for the Vietnam War Memorial, the

first on-campus commemoration in the nation. It honors 57 students and alumni who died or were declared missing. The 65-foot, L-shaped wall of native Kansas limestone, at the west end of Memorial Drive, was created by Doran Abel, an architecture major; Stephen Grabow, professor of architecture and urban design; and Greg Wade, the university’s landscape architect. Student Senate appropriations and donations from students, alumni and veterans paid for the memorial.

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