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Northwest Missouri State University is a state university in Maryville, Missourimarker. Founded in 1905 as a teachers college, it is a university offering undergraduate and graduate classes. The campus, based on the design for Forest Parkmarker at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, is the official Missouri State Arboretum. The school is governed by a state-appointed Board of Regents and headed by President Dr. John Jasinski. Northwest competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division II) and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association for men's and women's sports. The mascot is a Bearcat. The Bearcats have won two NCAA Division II national championships (1998 and 1999) and finished as runner-up (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008) in American football.



History of NWMSU College, Bell Tower exhibit
In 1905 the Missouri Legislature created five districts in the state to establish teaching standards or norms (hence the original name Normal school) in a state teacher college network.

Maryville won the competition for the Northwest district with an offer to donate 86 acres (on coincidentally the northwest corner of town) and $58,000 on the site of a Methodist Seminary. The other districts in the network were to be at Kirksvillemarker (Northeast - now Truman State), Cape Girardeaumarker (Southeast), Springfieldmarker (Southwest - now Missouri State), and Warrensburg (Central - now Central Missouri).

The original mission of the school was to teach elementary school teachers. Classes began on June 13, 1906 with a lab school teaching Maryville's children (that was eventually named the Horace Mann school) in kindergarten through third grade. The school was eventually expanded to a full-fledged high school before dropping back to its current configuration of kindergarten through sixth grade.

Class of 1948 bell
In 1919 the school was granted the name Northwest Missouri State Teacher's College, and with that the ability to grant baccalaureate degrees. In 1949 the name was shrunk to Northwest Missouri State College by the Board of Regents.

Rivalry with Missouri Western in St. Joseph

In 1969, Missouri Governor Warren Hearnes pushed for switching St. Joseph Junior Collegemarker from a two-year school into a four-year state college. At approximately the same time, authorities decided against a plan to continue routing Interstate 29 north of St. Joseph along U.S. Route 71 through Maryville and Clarinda, Iowamarker (instead picking a route to Council Bluffs, Iowamarker/Omaha, Nebraskamarker along the sparsely populated Missouri River bottoms).

Opening a new four-year state school within of Maryville (along with a delay in converting U.S. Route 71 to Maryville to four-lane status until ultimately 2002) was perceived in Maryville as an attempt to kill the school (and the town with which it is intertwined.) Those fears came to the forefront in 1988 when Shalia Aery, commissioner of higher education under Governor John Ashcroft announced a strategy to close the school. The plan was ultimately withdrawn.

Northwest Missouri State University

On August 14, 1972, Northwest was elevated to university status so that it could offer masters graduate degrees. Its name changed to Northwest Missouri State University.

One point of pride for the university is its Missouri Quality Awards. The university currently holds four of these honors, the first granted in 1997, the second in 2001, the third in 2005 and the fourth in 2008. Northwest is the only educational institution to receive multiple Missouri Quality Awards.

The President's home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1987, Northwest revealed its unique Electronic Campus Program. This put computers in all residence halls as well as faculty offices. The VAX computers were command line driven and included access to programs such as Wordstar. Brit Hume, visiting the college during this period on a speaking engagement, wrote a guest column in the Washington Post proclaiming Northwest as the country's first electronic campus. In 1997, the program was upgraded and all of the faculty members received laptop computers, while network machines were implemented in each residence hall room. Recently, all full-time students were given a laptop. Many locations on campus are now connected via WiFi.

Missouri State Arboretum

The Administration Building rises above the Missouri State Arboretum
The campus design was inspired by the Forest Park design for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair which evolved into the campus for Washington Universitymarker. In 1993 the state legislature designated Northwest the official Missouri State Arboretum.

Bearcat Stadium

Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics, and Computing

International Walk
In 2000 Northwest began offering an on-campus course for gifted high school students who spend their junior and senior years of high school living on the campus completing their high school courses as well as two years of college work. Upon graduation, students receive their high school diploma and an associates degree from Northwest.

The Missouri Academy average enrollment is around 80 students, but since 2007 enrollment has increased by 20 students, and continues to increase. The program is called the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing. It is located at the center of the campus.

Administration Building

Northwest's Administration Building

Construction inspired by 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

The defining landmark of the campus is the Administration Building, very similar to Brookings Hallmarker at Washington Universitymarker in St. Louis. Brookings Hall served as the Administration Building of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The master St. Louis design was created by Cope & Stewardson, famed for designing schools throughout the country based on the Oxford Universitymarker style.

The Collegiate Gothic structure with its central tower keep design evokes Tattershall Castlemarker and lords over the campus with the motto, "And the truth shall make you free," engraved in stone. Because of this design, the term "Tower" is used frequently throughout campus and is the name of the school yearbook. Work on the building began in 1906 and continued on and off until classes began in it on October 3, 1910. The architect of record for the Maryville building is John H. Felt. On March 15, 1919, a tornado ripped the roof off its auditorium and blew out most of its windows.

1979 Fire

On July 24, 1979, a fire destroyed 60 percent of the building on the central and west wing as well as the north wing housing the auditorium and Little Theater. However the east wing survived with relatively little damage. Many thought the building was going to be razed.

However, a $13.8 million capital program repaired most of the building and made extensive changes to the campus layout. The building ceased to serve as classroom space, with the exception of 3rd floor, which houses the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. The theater and music departments moved out of the building to the new Mary Linn Performing Arts Center west of Bearcat Stadium. The north wing of the Administration Building was torn down and sealed, although the outline of the wing is still visible against the bricks on the north. The former Wells Library (now Wells Hall) was turned into a classroom area and home for the National Public Radio affiliate radio station KXCV-FMmarker and the library was moved to its current location in the new B.D. Owens Library. All the academic files were burned and lost with no backups prior to the fire.

Student life


Main article:Northwest Missouri Bearcats

Northwest was a founding member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912 and has remained in the conference ever since. From its founding until 1937 it competed in the Amateur Athletic Union. From 1937 to 1957 it competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In 1957 it joined NCAA Division II. Northwest has appeared in six Division II football title games (winning two) since 1998. The men's basketball team appeared in an AAU title game in 1930.

Campus lore

Memorial to Mike the Dog at the just east of the administration building
Roberta Hall
The Memorial Bell Tower
  • Mike the Dog - Although the team mascot is a bearcat, perhaps the school's most touching monument is a small memorial to a dog near the east end of the Administration Building. Mike (which appears to resemble a Cairn Terrier) was a campus fixture from 1916-1917 and wore a green blanket with an "M" on it. Mike died after drinking arsenide of lead mistaking it for water. Students raised money for the memorial.
  • Roberta Hall ghost - On April 28, 1951 a gas tanker car stored on a siding of the Wabash Railroad tracks behind what was then Residence Hall exploded, sending steel chunks several blocks away. The ensuing fire destroyed much of Residence Hall and injured Roberta Steel, who was to die from the wounds in 1952. The Hall was rebuilt and renamed for Roberta. A persistent story says that she haunts the building throwing hair brushes.
  • Bobby the Bearcat - Northwest initially did not have a formal mascot and had been nicknamed the "Normals." In 1916 a Drury Collegemarker coach asked the Northwest coach if his bearcats were ready to play. The name stuck.
  • Kissing Bridge - The small wooden kissing bridge was over a small usually dry creek leading to Colden Pond southwest of Charles J. Colden Hall. Legend says that a female student isn’t officially a co-ed until she has been kissed on the bridge before the first snowfall. Another legend says that if you cross the bridge you will visit the campus again. The bridge has been moved from its original location closer to Colden Hall.
  • University Seal in the Bell Tower - The university seal, which is also the seal of the State of Missouri, is at the base of the Bell Tower. According to legend, if you walk across it you risk flunking. In a 2004 restoration of the tower the seal was moved to a display case.
  • Bell of 48 - A gift from the class of 1948, the bell is rung to announce athletic victories, in memory of any member of the University community and to announce other events deemed important by Student Senate and the administration. The bell is rung at 8:00 AM, (the time classes usually start,) on the Friday before the homecoming game, in order to signify Walk-Out Day. The seniors used to ring the bell some time in the day to "release" the other students from classes. Each year it became earlier until the University made it a tradition by cancelling classes that day.
  • Hickory Stick - The hickory stick is given to the winner of the Northwest and Truman State Universitymarker (Kirksville, MOmarker) football game. The hickory stick says, "This Hickory Stick was grown on a farm in the Maryville District on which Eugene Fair, President of Northeast Missouri State was born." The first recorded game score is from 1908. Also noted on the stick is 1942, '43, '44 and '45 "WAR NO GAME." By tradition the winning team repaints the metal tip with their school color. Truman holds the overall advantage 42-28-4, but the tides are a changin', Northwest has owned the hickory stick for the last 8-years, including a 49-0 drubbing in 2008 as well as a 70-0 win in 2009.
  • School colors - The school colors are green (Pantone Solid Coated 3435) or #004631 and white. Originally red and white, Northwest shortly changed them to differentiate the college from Maryville High School which had the same colors. Ironically, the high school eventually changed its colors to match the college green, yellow, and white.
  • World's Shortest St. Patrick's Parade - Starting off as a joke for downtown watering hole The Palms, it is an ever-diminishing tradition of having of the world's shortest Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Originally going a block on Buchanan from Fourth Street to Fifth Street, the parade has gotten shorter and shorter each year to maintain the record. It was in 2006.
  • Laptop Program - Northwest also gives HP laptop computers to all students for use during the school year.

University Presidents

Famous alumni

Northwest Alumni magazine in Spring 2006 showed an aerial view of the campus



External links

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