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Significant Dates in the History of the University of Missouri



1839 - The University of Missouri, the first state university west of the Mississippi River, was established in Columbia.

Click on image to see a larger version. Original Plat of the site for the University of Missouri
Original Plat for the site of the University of Missouri, 1839
(University Archives, UW:1/4/1)
Click here to see text from Plat.


1841 - The College of Arts and Science was officially founded.

1841 - The Board of Curators appropriates $1000 for a University Library.

1843 - The University's first commencement was held. There were only two graduates (Robert L. Todd and Robert B. Todd), but the ceremony lasted three hours.

1845 - The medical department of the University of Missouri was founded. It lasted until 1856.

Old Medical School
Old Medical School Building, 1885
(University Archives, C:0/51/1)

1862 - The Civil War forced the University to close for most of the year.

1867 - The University received its first state appropriation, $10,000, to build a president's home, repair war-ravaged Academic Hall and establish a normal school. Women were admitted for the first time. The College of Education was founded.

1870 - The University was accorded land-grant status under terms of the Morrill Act of 1862. The legislature authorized a School of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts for Columbia and a School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla. The College of Agriculture was founded.

School of Mines and Metallurgy at Rolla
School of Mines and Metallurgy, Rolla, Phelps Co., Missouri, ca. 1876
(University Archives, C:0/51/1, Box 1, Report by the Curators to the Governor, Containing Catalogue, Announcements, and Other Matter Pertaining to the University p.93)

1872 - The School of Law was founded.

1872 - The School of Medicine was founded in Columbia.

1872 - The first instruction in veterinary medicine is offered.

1877 - The College of Engineering was founded.

1888 - The University's Board of Curators established the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station under the authority of the Hatch Act. Agricultural experiments were initiated on Sanborn Field in Columbia, where they continue today.

Agriculture School - 1900
Agriculture School, 1900
(University Archives, C:1/25/6)

1890 - MU played its first intercollegiate football game against Washington University of St. Louis.

1892 - Academic Hall, the first and main building, was destroyed by fire. The library is destroyed, but the building's famous columns remain. Academic Hall's replacement, Jesse Hall, was completed in 1895.

1896 - The Graduate Interdisciplinary School was established.

1903 - The School of Education is organized.

1908 - The world's first School of Journalism was founded.

Journalism School - 1970
Journalism School Students, 1970
(University Archives, C:1/40/1)

1910 - The University established its Extension division.

1914 - The College of Business and Public Administration was established.

1914 - The main library, now Ellis Library, is built.

Old Business and Public Administration Building
Old Business and Public Administration Building
(University Archives, C:1/40/1)

1917 - The country's first soil erosion experiment was carried out in Columbia. It became the basis of the U.S. Soil Conservation Service's national program.

1920 - The School of Nursing was founded.

1927 - The Libraries' collection surpasses 250,000 volumes.

1936 - Denial of admission to Lloyd Lionel Gaines, the first African American to apply to the University of Missouri School of Law.

1942 - During World War II, reading rooms become classrooms for military recruits.

1946 - The School of Veterinary Science is established.

1948 - The School of Social Work is founded.

1949 - The Schools of Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife are founded. The School of Veterinary Medicine is formally established.

Veterinary School Lab
Veterinary School Lab, 1970
(University Archives, C:1/40/1)

1950 - Gus T. Ridgel was one of the first African-American students to enroll in the university, and the first graduate. He earned a Master's degree in Economics the following year.

1954 - KOMU-TV was dedicated in January. It is the only university-owned-and-operated commercial television station in the country.

1956 - The construction of the University Hospital was completed. This facility quickly became a statewide referral center.

1956 - Alfred Abram, Jr. was the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship. He played basketball from 1957 until 1960 and in 1959, was the university's fourth highest scorer.

1960 - The College of Home Economics was founded. In 1988 it was renamed the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

1962 - The Libraries' collection surpasses 1 million volumes.

1963 - The University became a four-campus system by acquiring the University of Kansas City (now the University of Missouri-Kansas City) and by creating a St. Louis area campus (University of Missouri-St. Louis).

1964 - The nation's first automated library circulation system is installed in Ellis Library.

1965 - The College of Public and Community Services was founded. In 1988 the College was disbanded and the departments were distributed to the College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

1966 - The School of Library and Informational Science was established.

Hearnes Center Under Construction
Hearnes Center Under Construction, 1970
(University Archives, UW:4/141/10)

1969 - Dr. Arvarh Strickland is the first African-American professor to receive an appointment.

1975 - The School of Accountancy was founded as a separate entity.

1984 - The Board of Curators approved a 10-year, long-range plan to improve the quality of the University's teaching, research, extension and public service programs.

1987 - The Jesse Hall dome was refurbished and lighted in preparation for the Sesquicentennial.

1989 - MU celebrates its Sesquicentennial.

1993 - Law School Dedication of the walkway at Hulston Hall in memory of Lloyd Lionel Gaines and the establishment of two scholarships in his name.

1995 - 100th Anniversary of Francis Quadrangle.

1997 - Memorial Union celebrates 75th Anniversary.

Source: MU At A Glance, IRP, Spring 1989, and University Archives


For an additional chronology, see History of the University.

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Revised: 07 May 2014
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