It all started over a year ago when we were planning our trip around the country. Good friends of ours asked if we would route ourselves through Missouri in October to join them for the University of Missouri’s tradition of homecoming. Their daughter Nicole is going to school at the University of Missouri. The thought of homecoming brought back so many college memories for me that we planned our whole trip around this stop!
Touring the beautiful and historic campus at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) with Nicole, learning about traditions going back to 1839, was a kick. Homecoming, painted store windows and Fraternity/Sorority houses all decked out to celebrate added to the thrill of being on this gorgeous Midwestern college campus.
When on a college campus, where do you go first to get in the spirit of things? The student store, of course! Truman the Tiger is the school mascot and named after Harry S Truman, our 33rd President and a United States Senator from Missouri.
There are tigers all over the campus. The symbol of the tiger at the University of Missouri is rooted in the Civil War. The militiamen that protected the Columbia area were known as the Fightin’ Tigers.
The Columns on the quad are all that remains of Academic Hall, the first and main building on campus until it burned down on January 9, 1892. The Columns were originally thought to be unsafe, but a rally in their defense kept them on campus to become an enduring symbol of Missouri University.
Tiger Walk and Tiger Prowl, symbolic events that take place at the Columns each year.
Tiger Walk takes place each August before classes begin. To symbolize their entrance into Mizzou, the freshman class meets and walks through the Columns toward Jesse Hall.
Tiger Prowl is the corresponding event for seniors upon their graduation. The seniors walk through the Columns away from Jesse Hall. This does not symbolize their leaving the university. It symbolizes the enduring connection that they will have as alumni. Pretty cool!
The nose knows! Look at the shine on that nose! As tribute to former governor of Missouri and a great proponent of the university, a statue of David R. Francis stands just northeast of the entrance to Jesse Hall. It is said that when a student rubs his nose, they’ll get an “A” on their next exam. Due to this tradition’s popularity, the nose has needed replacement a few times over the years. Rumor has it, 5 times!
Memorial Union Tower was constructed in 1926 as a tribute to 116 University of Missouri students who lost their lives in World War I. When the north portion was completed in 1950, the building was re-dedicated following World War II. When walking underneath the tower, people should always tip their hats and speak in a whisper to honor of our fallen soldiers.
The memorial wall lists all of the students of MU who lost their lives during WWI and WWII.
So how did the tombstone of Thomas Jefferson come to reside at the University of Missouri? According to historians, Jefferson was very clear about what he wanted on his tombstone and “not a word more.” He requested: “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson. Author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom and Father of the University of Virginia.”
The monument made of granite with a marble engraved slab began to deteriorate, with some help from souvenir seekers. By 1882, the monument had become so damaged that Congress agreed to pay for a new one, leaving it to Jefferson’s family to find a home for the original.
Jefferson’s heirs agreed on the significance of Mizzou being the first public university west of the Mississippi River and liked that it was modeled after the University of Virginia. So they sent the monument to Columbia, where the obelisk and cube were put in the Quad.
Not only is the university steeped in traditions and history, it is an incredibly beautiful campus. From the architecture to the immaculately landscaped grounds. Anyone would be proud to be a part of the school!
Which brings us to the amazing gym! This gymnasium rivals any high end spa! In fact, the gym at the University of Missouri made it to the list of the 21 Most Innovative Gyms in the U.S. We never had anything like this when I was in college!
Our lovely tour guide Nicole works for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs in addition to her full load of college courses. She has always been active with her school, community and church and continues to do so while getting her education at Mizzou. Thanks for a great tour Nicole! 🙂