Friends University is a private non-denominational Christian university in Wichita, Kansas. Friends University was founded in 1898. The main building was originally built in 1886 for Garfield University, but was donated in 1898 to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) by James Davis, a St. Louis business man. In the 1930s the leadership of the school was turned over to an independent Board of Trustees, with some representation of the Mid-America Yearly Meeting of Friends on the board. It operates today with "an amicable but independent relationship with the Society of Friends." The Mission of Friends University is "to provide a high quality undergraduate and graduate education that incorporates Liberal arts instruction and professional studies within the context of the Christian faith."
The building now known as the Davis Administration Building was completed in September 1887 to house Garfield University. Garfield was an effort by the Christian Churches of Kansas led by Dr. W.B. Hendryx to build a Christian college in the Wichita area. Hendryx wanted to name the college after his good friend, President James Garfield. At the time, it was the largest educational institution west of the Mississippi river. Garfield University opened its doors for classes in 1887. The University had 500 students enrolled for the first year and 1,070 for the second year. After graduating its first and only senior class, Garfield University closed its doors in 1890 due to financial difficulties. The school was reorganized and opened again in March 1892 as Garfield Central Memorial University.