Founded in 1884, Haskell Indian Nations University is a staple in the Lawrence community. While the campus has been around for 132 years, it was not always a university. In its first few years the school was called the United States Indian Industrial Training School and only taught children in grades first through fifth. The classes offered included tailoring, blacksmithing, and farming for the boys along with sewing, cooking, and housekeeping for the girls. The school's name changed to Haskell Institute within five years of its establishment.
As the school became more popular, Haskell Institute started to offer middle school and high school courses. The classes were a combination of academic and vocational and lasted from 1927 to 1965. In 1970, Haskell began offering junior college classes and changed its name to Haskell Indian Nations University to reflect this shift of focus to higher education.
Today, Haskell has an enrollment rate of around 1,000 students per semester. The university offers programs for twelve associates degrees and four baccalaureate degrees. The mission of the university is “to build the leadership capacity of our students by serving as the leading institution of academic excellence, cultural and intellectual prominence, and holistic education to address the needs of Indigenous communities.”