Born in rural Boone County, Missouri, Robert L. Todd, along with his cousin Robert Barr Todd (both men being first cousins of Mary Todd Lincoln), constituted the first graduating class of the University of Missouri. "Little Bob Todd", as Robert Levi Todd was called, was class valedictorian; Robert B. Todd (or "Big Bob Todd") was salutatorian. While Robert B. moved to Louisiana and eventually became a justice in that state's supreme court, Robert L. remained in Boone County, becoming the University's first official Tutor, and serving fifteen years as a Curator and twenty-five years as Secretary to the Board of Curators. An often-repeated story claims that Todd saved the University from burning during the Civil War, using his connections to President Lincoln to prevent Union Colonel Lewis Merrill from putting the entire town of Columbia to flames. An early voice for the University's alumni, Todd was instrumental in creating the Alumni Association in 1853, serving as president in 1885-1886. Robert L. Todd continued to be one of the University's strongest supporters until his death in Columbia in 1898.
Missouri Alumnus, University of Missouri Alumni Association, May 1938, June 1953 and March 1979.
Copyright © Curators of the University of Missouri 2008
Published by: University Archives muarchives.missouri.edu/
Prepared by Nicole Mautino
Revised: 2 June 2008