Get to know your Football Stadium a little better! Booth Memorial is an interesting Stadium.
Memorial Stadium gets its name
The KU Football Stadium is called Memorial Stadium because World War One claimed the lives of 129 members of the Kansas University Student Army Training Corps. In 1920, students, faculty, and fans raised money to build a stadium for the Jayhawk Football team. Memorial Stadium was chosen in honor of the 129 Jayhawks killed in Europe.
In 1917, William T. Fitzsimmons, a 1912 KU graduate was killed in France. Fitzsimons worked in a hospital until a German air attack took his life. He was the first American casualty of the Great War. Jayhawks died towards the end of the war in places like the Marne, Cambrai, and Meuse-Argonne.
A second level addition, an enclosed north end, and turf conversion improved Booth Memorial over time.
Seven memorials on campus are dedicated to alums who died in different wars over the years. It is the 11th oldest college football stadium in the US.
Memorial seats 47,000. At the 1974 Governors Cup the stadium was packed with 51,574 fans who saw the Jayhawks win 25-18. The record continues to shatter when KU plays Kansas State…in 2008, 52,230 watched the Jayhawks win the Sunflower Showdown. Also in 2008 the Jayhawks hung 76 points on Nebraska, the most points ever scored against the Black Shirts.
A 1983 movie that showed the brutality of Nuclear War, The Day After, was shot in and around Lawrence over six weeks. 3000 students and faculty acted as extras in the movie. One of the iconic scenes shows outbound missiles launching during a Jayhawk football game.
(Skip to 1:17 for the stadium shot)
David Booth to the rescue
A 50 million dollar donation by David Booth, a KU Alum and benefactor, helped renovate Memorial in 2017. Famous for bidding 3.8 million to return the Rules of Basketball to Allen Fieldhouse, Booth is known for his generosity in donating to KU athletics.
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