Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mizzou!

Today marks the 175th anniversary of the University of Missouri’s founding on Feb. 11, 1839. MU was the first public university west of the Mississippi River and the first state university in Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase territory. This wonderful timeline highlights other significant events in Mizzou's history.

One of my favorite bits of MU's history surrounds the Civil War. The war forced the university to close in 1862. The residents of Columbia formed a home militia and stood ready to defend the city and university. They were given the nickname "Fighting Tigers of Columbia." In 1890, the football team took on the nickname "Tigers" after the Civil War militia. We've been the Mizzou Tigers ever since.

Another poignant piece of history occurred after a fire consumed Academic Hall on Jan. 9, 1892. Board of Curators President G.F. Rothwell wrote these immortal words: 
 “… Let these columns stand. Let them stand a thousand years… a memorial to [those] who in their magnificent presence learned what life and duty are… to live the one and do the other. They will be a rallying point of future devotion and service to the university ….”
Indeed. The beloved columns are the most recognizable feature of our university and a subject I love to photograph. I'm very grateful to Mizzou as it has played a huge part of who I am today.  So, "here's a health to thee," Old Missouri. "Thy high fame shall last!"


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