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Our History

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Significant Dates

  • 1839 - University established in Columbia.
  • 1843 - First commencement. There were only two graduates, but the ceremony lasted three hours.
  • 1862 - The Civil War and other difficulties forced the university to close for most of the year.
  • 1867 - The state provided the first appropriation of $10,000, to build a home for the president, repair war damages and establish a normal school.
  • 1868 - Women admitted for the first time.
  • 1870 - The university was accorded land-grant status under the Morrill Act of 1862, prompting the legislature to authorize a school of agriculture and mechanical arts in Columbia and a school of mines and metallurgy in Rolla (University of Missouri-Rolla).
  • 1888 - The university established the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station under the authority of the Hatch Act. Experiments were begun on Sanborn Field in Columbia, where they continue today.
  • 1890 - The university played its first intercollegiate football game. The opponent was Washington University.
  • 1892 - Academic Hall, the first and main building on the Columbia campus, was destroyed by fire. The building's famous columns remain on Francis Quadrangle.
  • 1908 - The world's first school of journalism was founded on the Columbia campus.
  • 1910 - The university established its extension division.
  • 1911 - Correspondence study was offered for the first time.
  • 1917 - The nation's first soil erosion experiment was carried out in Columbia. The project became the basis for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service's national erosion reduction program.
  • 1950 - The university admitted its first black students.
  • 1952 - The legislature appropriated funds to build a major medical center on the Columbia campus.
  • 1963 - The university becomes a four-campus system, acquiring the University of Kansas City and creating a campus in St. Louis, known as the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, respectively. .
  • 1966 - The university's research reactor, a world-class facility, was completed.
  • 1970 - The School of Optometry at UMSL was opened. It is the only optometry school in Missouri.
  • 1971 - UMKC established a school of medicine with a unique six-year program, and, the UMKC dentistry school became the first to offer a three-year degree program.
  • 1986 - Contracts were signed to begin the development of university research parks in Kansas City and St. Charles County.
  • 2007 - The University of Missouri Board of Curators approved UMR's proposal to change the campus name to Missouri University of Science and Technology.
  • 2013 - UMSL and UMKC celebrated their 50th anniversaries.
  • 2014 - MU celebrated 175th anniversary.

For a detailed history of the university, please refer to:

  • The University of Missouri, 1839-1939, by Jonas Viles, E.W. Stephens Co.
  • A History of the University of Missouri, by Frank Stephens, University of Missouri Press, 1939.
  • The University of Missouri, An Illustrated History, by James and Vera Olson, University of Missouri Press, 1988.