It was in 1904 when Wichita State University was known as Fairmount College that R.J. Kirk (Class of 1907), a football manager, invented the name "Wheat Shockers" for posters to advertise a game against the Chilocco Indians.
Kirk had put the word "Indians" under the name Chilocco and a press agent for the Wichita Fall Festival, helping to publicize the contest, demanded that Kirk should produce a nickname for Fairmount to balance the poster.
In those days, when wheat was shocked or headed, the majority of the players earned a stake for college expenses by working all summer in the harvest and threshing and came back tough enough to play 60-minute games.
Although the name was never officially adopted, it caught on, was combined into one word, and survived until it was shortened to "Shockers" as Wichita State teams are known today.
The story of WuShock began in 1948. Wichita University students of the art department were invited by Kappa Pi art fraternity to compete in the creation of a design to typify the spirit of the school. Walter Lengel's design students were given the assignment as a requirement of his class. The entries were to be judged by members of the student publications board. The contest was wide open...no theme was established.
Wilbur Elsea, a junior who had been a Marine during World War II, decided that, "the school needed a mascot who gave a tough impression...with a serious, no-nonsense scowl." And his design for the WuShock character was adopted.
WuShock got its name in another contest, which was won by freshman Jack Kersting.
But the story does not end there. Dave Johnson, a WU cheerleader, changed the mascot from ink into flesh and blood in 1954. He and members of the art department brought WuShock to life as a costume.
He has been the WSU mascot since 1948, and has been in the movies, thrown out of a basketball game, been kidnapped and has entertained thousands of Shocker fans.