Fort Hays State University opened in 1902 as the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School. For the first two years classes were held at the Fort site. In 1904 the first stone building, Picken Hall, was completed on the “flats” adjacent to Hays, and the young institution was moved to its present location.
The University remains the only state university in the entire western two-thirds of the state. It is a 4-year liberal and applied arts institute that provides education in the liberal arts, sciences and professional areas of study required to meet the industrial, business, cultural and educational needs of the western region of Kansas. rn