Lawrence is the home of the 28,000 student University of Kansas as well as the 1,100 student Haskell Indian Nations University, one of the oldest and largest post-secondary institutions for Native Americans in the USA. Lawrence is located about 25 miles east of Topeka and is the seat of Douglas County. It was founded in 1854 by the New England Emigrant Aid Society, which had it's roots in Lawrence Massachusetts. That group
encouraged abolitionists from the East to settle in Kansas. It became a stronghold of the free-state, abolitionist movement in the Kansas-Missouri area before and during the Civil War.
Lawrence is probably the most "cosmopolitan" city in Kansas because of its history and the two universities. The KU Jayhawks men's basketball team is one of the most storied in college basketball. Dr. James Naismith created the sport in Springfield, Massachusetts and brought it to Lawrence in 1891. Ironically, he is the only head coach in Kansas basketball history to end his career with a losing record. Kansas won the NCAA Division I Title in 1952 and 1988.
KU's mythical mascot, the Jayhawk, is among the most unique in college and university athletics. Legend has it that during the Civil War, border raiders who crossed the Missouri-Kansas state line, were referred to as "Jayhawkers" and to this day the KU-MU sports rivalry is one of the nation's most intense.