Last Sunday I had the privilege of spending a few hours walking around the campus of my Alma Mater with two of my best friends Kirsten and Mel. They both still live in Columbia and accompanied me on a walking/picture-taking* tour of the University of Missouri (aka "Mizzou" or "MU"), the place where we met nearly 10 years ago. Yikes, we're old. I've been working on this post for a while now, because I wanted to give you some background information on this beautiful place and do it justice. Are you ready to begin the tour? Here we go!
*All photos taken by me. Please do not reproduce without permission or without citing the source. Thanks!
In 1839 the university was founded in Columbia, Missouri as the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. The largest university in Missouri, MU enrolls over 30,000 students in 20 academic colleges. The university is the flagship of the University of Missouri System which maintains campuses in Rolla, Kansas City and St. Louis.
The campus is just south of downtown Columbia and is maintained as a botanical garden. The historical campus is centered on David R. Francis Quadrangle (the "Quad"), a National Historic District, and a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Mizzou is one of only six public universities in the US with a school of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, and law all on one campus.
The University of Missouri's athletic teams are known as the Missouri Tigers and compete as members of the Big 12 conference. The school's mascot, Truman the Tiger, is named after Missourian and former U.S. president Harry S. Truman. According to the NCAA, the American tradition of Homecoming was established at the University in 1911; the tradition has since been adopted nationwide.
The traditional symbol of the University of Missouri is the row of six Ionic columns. The Columns once supported the portico of Academic Hall, the first building erected on campus. Academic Hall was built 1840 by A. Stephen Hills, designer of the Missouri State Capitol. On Jan. 9, 1892, Academic Hall was destroyed by fire and the Columns were all that remained. In August 1893 the Board of Curators voted to remove the Columns, considering them not only unsafe but unsightly. However, supporters of the Columns rallied to their defense, and after inspection showed the foundations were safe, the Board voted to retain them in December 1893. Now the Columns stand as a beloved part of MU's campus.
The domed building behind the columns is Jesse Hall, the main administration building of the University. It was built in 1893 after Academic Hall burned to the ground and is one of the major symbols of the University. It is located at the south end of the Quad. Jesse Auditorium, a popular entertainment venue for touring acts, is located at the east end of the hall.
In 1908, Walter Williams founded the Missouri School of Journalism at the suggestion of Joseph Pulitzer. This was the world's first school of journalism and it has become the top journalism school in the nation.
The academic portion of campus is split into two main groups known as Red Campus and White Campus. Red Campus is the historical core of academic buildings situated around the landmark columns of the Quad. In the early 1900s, the College of Agriculture began a period of rapid expansion in which several buildings were constructed out of red brick to accommodate the growing program and student body. The new buildings, located to the east of Red Campus, were built in neo-gothic style from native Missouri white limestone, which is why it’s referred to as White Campus.
The most notable feature of White Campus is Memorial Union. The impressive gothic architecture of MU's Memorial Union makes it one of the most picturesque landmarks on campus. The central portion of the structure, the Tower, was built as a memorial to those Mizzou alumni and students who lost their lives in World War I. The tower is approximately 140 feet high and bears a Latin inscription which reads \"In Sapientia Ambulate, TempusRediments.\" This translated says, \"Walk in Wisdom, Redeeming the Time.\" Since the time of its dedication, the memorial stands as a tribute to all of the MU alumni and students lost in U.S. wars and conflicts.
It is a tradition at MU to show your respect as you pass through the Memorial Union archway. People speak in hushed tones and men remove or tip their hats as a sign of respect to those alumni who lost their lives in service to their country.
Attached to the University's Memorial Union, the A.P. Green Chapel was constructed in 1961 as a generous gift from prominent manufacturer (Allen Percival Green (1875-1956)). This little chapel is also the place where our friends Melissa and Eric tied the knot.
During the 1990s, Red Campus was extended to the south side of Jesse Hall with the creation of the Carnahan Quadrangle. Hulston Hall, of the University of Missouri School of Law, had already been completed in 1988 and formed a natural eastern border for the future quad.
The Reynolds Alumni Center was completed in 1992 on the west side of the new quad.
The new quad was finished with completion of Cornell Hall of the Trulaske College of Business and Tiger Plaza in 2002.
Located near the front entrance of the Reynolds Alumni Building the statue of cartoon character Beetle Bailey and the surrounding gardens pay tribute to The Shack, a student hangout located nearby which burned to the ground in the late 80's. It is supposed that Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey, and one of MU's distinguished alums hung out there and used this a model for Beetle Bailey's hangout.
The walkway to the Alumni Center from Jesse Hall is really pretty and is lined with engraved stones bearing the names of alumni.
And, of course, the chorus to the school fight song!
Old Missouri, fair Missouri
Dear old Varsity.
Ours are hearts that fondly love thee
Here's a health to thee.
Close the this new quad are two of my favorite buildings: Tate Hall (home of the English department and where the majority of my classes were held)...
And Ellis Library. Ellis Library, the main library on the MU campus, on Lowry Mall, across from the old bookstore and centrally located between Memorial Union and Jesse Hall. Ellis Library contains the principal resources for research in the humanities, the social sciences, and the basic sciences. Six additional branch libraries hold most material pertaining to health sciences, veterinary medicine, geology, engineering, math, and journalism.
As the oldest building on the oldest public university campus west of the Mississippi River, the Residence on Francis Quadrangle reflects the rich history of the University of Missouri. It is the corner-stone of the 18 red-brick buildings that comprise the Quadrangle's nationally recognized historic district. The Residence has played host to many national and international figures. In 1902, Mark Twain dined there while on campus to receive an honorary degree. President Harry S Truman stayed in the Residence during a visit in 1950, and Eleanor Roosevelt rested and changed for dinner in an upstairs bedroom in 1959. Today, the Residence still overlooks the historic Columns and the original grave marker of Thomas Jefferson, donated to the University by Jefferson's family in 1885.
Designated as a botanic garden, MU’s 1,372-acre main campus features more than 5,000 trees and 650 varieties of plants. It seemed like everything was in full bloom this time of year.
I love this picture (below), with the column peeking through the dogwood tree (which is the state tree of Missouri).
I hope you enjoyed this little stroll around campus as much as I did. Don't forget to tip your tour guide!