Lewis Lindsay Dyche, Dyche Hall's namesake, was a true Renaissance man. He wore many hats — taxidermist, professor and curator, conservationist, explorer, showman, game warden and lobbyist.
As a child, Dyche avoided book learning and instead schooled himself in the outdoors by hunting, trapping, fishing and raising cattle.
In 1874, when he was 17, Dyche pooled his savings ($600) and enrolled in the State Normal School in Emporia, Kansas. For the first time, Dyche's interest in formal education flourished. After graduating in three years, he and a friend set off in a covered wagon to attend the university.
Dyche's knowledge of flora and fauna earned him the esteem of Professor Francis H. Snow, who quickly became his mentor. Snow had been charged with assembling a cabinet of natural history for the university, and he employed Dyche as an undergraduate assistant, instructor and companion on summer collecting expeditions.
"Snow was a great Entomologist. He offered the Lawrence boys $1.00 each for any new species they might bring him. Dyche brought the Chancellor so many new species of Coleoptera and earned so many dollars that Chancellor Snow took an interest in him." - R.B. Trouslot to Mrs. Ophelia Dyche (paraphrased), Oct. 1, 1930, Dyche Papers, University of Kansas Archives.
After Dyche's graduation with "grades so high you had to take out a telescope to look at them" (1889 yearbook), he stayed at KU as a well-known professor and curator for 25 years. His talent in taxidermy and hunting put Kansas' collection of mammals and birds on the national natural history map.
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