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University of Missouri

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Missouri

The University of Missouri (Mizzou, MU, University of Missouri–Columbia, or simply Missouri) is a public research university located in the U.S. state of Missouri. In 1839, the university was founded in Columbia as the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. As the largest university in Missouri, MU enrolls 35,441 students offering over 300 degree programs in 19 academic colleges in the 2014–15 year. The university is the flagship of the University of Missouri System, which maintains campuses in Rolla, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

MU is one of the nation's top-tier R1 institutions and one of the 34 public universities to be members of the Association of American Universities. There are more than 270,000 MU alumni living worldwide with almost one half continuing to reside in Missouri. The University of Missouri was ranked 99 in the 2015 U.S. News & World Report among the national universities.

The campus of the University of Missouri is 1,262 acres (511 ha) just south of Downtown Columbia and is maintained as a botanical garden. The historical campus is centered on Francis Quadrangle, a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1908, the world's first school of journalism was founded by Walter Williams as the Missouri School of Journalism.

The University of Missouri Research Reactor Center is the world's most powerful university research reactor. It is one of only six public universities in the United States with a school of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, and law all on one campus. The university also owns the University of Missouri Health Care system, which operates four hospitals in Mid-Missouri.

The only athletic program that operates a Division I FBS football team in Missouri is known as the Missouri Tigers and competes as a member of the Southeastern Conference. The school's mascot, Truman the Tiger, is named after Missourian and former U.S. president Harry S. Truman. According to the NCAA, the American tradition of homecoming was established at the University in 1911; the tradition has since been adopted nationwide. In 1839, the Missouri Legislature passed the Geyer Act to establish funds for a state university. It would be the first public university west of the Mississippi River. To secure the university, the citizens of Columbia and Boone County pledged $117,921 in cash and land to beat out five other central Missouri counties for the location of the state university. The land on which the university was eventually constructed was just south of Columbia's downtown and owned by James S. Rollins. He was later called the "Father of the University." As the first public university in the Louisiana Purchase, the school was shaped by Thomas Jefferson's ideas about public education.

In 1862 the American Civil War forced the university to close for much of the year. Residents of Columbia formed a "home guard" militia that became known as the "Fighting Tigers of Columbia". They were given the name for their readiness to protect the city and university. In 1890, the University's newly formed football team took the name the "Tigers" after the Civil War militia.

In 1870 the institution was granted land-grant college status under the Morrill Act of 1862. The act led to the founding of the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy as an off shoot of the main campus in Columbia. It developed as the present-day Missouri University of Science and Technology. In 1888 the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station opened. This grew to encompass ten centers and research farms around Missouri. By 1890 the university encompassed a normal college (for training of teachers of students through high school), engineering college, arts and science college, school of agriculture and mechanical arts. school of medicine, and school of law.

On January 9, 1892, Academic Hall, the institution's main building, burned in a fire that completely gutted the building, leaving little more standing than six stone Ionic columns. Under the administration of Missouri Governor David R. Francis, the university was rebuilt, with additions that shaped the modern institution.

After the fire, some state residents tried to have the university moved further west to Sedalia; but Columbia rallied support to keep it. The columns were retained as a symbol of the historic campus. Today they are surrounded by the Francis Quadrangle, the oldest part of campus. At the southern end of the quad is Academic Hall's replacement, Jesse Hall, named for Richard Jesse (the president of the university at the time of the fire). Built in 1895, Jesse Hall holds many administrative offices and Jesse Auditorium. The buildings surrounding the quad were constructed of red brick, leading to this area becoming known as Red Campus. The area was tied together in planned landscaping and walks in 1910 by George Kessler in a City Beautiful design of the grounds. Jesse Hall is scheduled for a $9.8 mil. makeover to include a fire sprinkler system, work on its elevators, and a new heating and cooling system as part of a $92 mil. total renovation package approved by the Board of Curators in June 2013. This upgrade is expected to be completed in March 2015.

To the east of the quadrangle, later buildings constructed of white limestone in 1913 and 1914 to accommodate the new academic programs became known as the White Campus. In 1908 the world's first journalism school opened at MU. It became notable for its "Missouri Method" of hands-on, experience-based instruction. It later established an award for "Distinguished Journalism".

Francis Quadrangle, featuring the columns and Jesse Hall After World War II, the enrollment at universities around the country grew at an extraordinary pace, and MU was no exception. This was due in part to the G.I. Bill, which allowed veterans to attend college with the assistance of the federal government.

In April 1923, a black janitor was accused of the rape of the daughter of a University of Missouri professor. James T. Scott was abducted from the Boone County jail by a mob of townsfolk and students, and was lynched to death from a bridge near the campus before his trial took place. In the winter of 1935, four graduates of Lincoln University—a traditionally black school about 30 miles (48 km) away in Jefferson City—were denied admission to MU's graduate school. One of the students, Lloyd L. Gaines, brought his case to the United States Supreme Court. On December 12, 1938, in a landmark 6–2 decision, the court ordered the State of Missouri to admit Gaines to MU's law school or provide a facility of equal stature. Gaines disappeared in Chicago on March 19, 1939, under suspicious circumstances. The University granted Gaines a posthumous honorary law degree in May 2006. Undergraduate divisions were integrated by court order in 1950, when the University was compelled to admit African Americans to courses that were not offered at Lincoln University.