By Jeff Murphy, January 14, 2021
A part of the University of Central Missouri’s 150-year history, Old Main, located
at the quadrangle, was one of four buildings destroyed in a massive fire on campus
in 1915. One of the sesquicentennial events this spring will showcase campus structures
from the past.
WARRENSBURG, MO – With the theme, “150 Years of Education for Service,” the University of Central Missouri’s sesquicentennial is an opportunity to celebrate the institution’s rich heritage of educating students through a number of special events that begin this semester.
The University’s Board of Governors has officially designated 2021-2022 as the university’s sesquicentennial. The celebration commemorates a significant milestone for UCM that began with action taken by the State Board of Regents on April 26, 1871 approving Warrensburg as the site for the new State Normal School for the Second Normal District. The sesquicentennial is an opportunity to retrace and celebrate the steps UCM has taken from its humble beginnings as an institution dedicated to training Missouri teachers to become a major comprehensive, technologically advanced university that today serves students from across the globe.
A planning committee that includes members of the campus and the Warrensburg community has been meeting for more than one year under the leadership of Amber Clifford-Napoleone, Ph.D., professor of anthropology and director of the McClure Archives and Museum, to coordinate activities honoring the university’s many years of serving students. A list of these special events, including archival exhibitions, historic tour, Founder’s Day Picnic, Birthday Bash, historical costume exhibition, special music performances, alumni gatherings, and much more can be found on the sesquicentennial website at 150.ucmo.edu.
UCM’s sesquicentennial celebration also takes place as the state of Missouri prepares to celebrate its bicentennial in 2021, marking 200 years since Missouri was admitted to the Union of the United States of America on Aug. 10, 1821. “Missouri 2021” commemorative events are being coordinated by the State Historical Society of Missouri, which also recognizes UCM’s historic achievement among many opportunities to promote and celebrate the state’s history.
While most of the university’s sesquicentennial activities are planned for February through December 2021, the McClure Archives and Museum in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library is launching a special exhibition Jan. 15 giving visitors a glimpse at UCM’s past through photos and other archival items representing 1871 to 1921. This exhibit, “UCM@150: The First 50 Years,“ is free and open to the public and can be viewed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through June 15. An additional display focusing on UCM history is planned for the future.
During the week of Feb. 8-13, “We Are UCM: 150 Years of Service,” includes activities such as the Education for Service Spirit Rally, the Donation Creation program to benefit UCM’s Campus Cupboard and Warrensburg Food Pantry, in addition to volunteer projects that benefit the Warrensburg community.
The Historic Campus Tour and Ghost Buildings of the Great Fire is planned for 7 p,m. March 25. This is an opportunity for all interested individuals to join a free campus tour that begins at the McClure Archives and University Museum and ends at the quadrangle with a presentation and “footprint” installation of UCM’s campus in 1915. Participants will learn more about the massive fire that destroyed four key buildings and get an idea about what the campus looked like during this time. Warrensburg Main Street, Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and the Warrensburg Visitors Bureau are co-sponsoring this event.
With April being the actual month of UCM’s founding, it is chock full of 150-year celebration programs. Among them, an Evening of Appreciation – Founder’s Society Induction is planned by the UCM Alumni Foundation at 6 p.m. April 24 in the ballrooms of the Elliott Student Union. This will be followed by the Founder’s Day Campus Picnic for faculty, staff and students at 11 a.m. and the Founder’s Day Birthday Bash at 7:30 p.m., both on April 27 at the quadrangle. Everyone is invited to attend the evening event which features a reenactment of the night the location of the State Normal School No. 2 was awarded to Warrensburg. The festivities will includes musical performances, people dressed in 1871 fashions, birthday cake and fireworks.
MuleNation events throughout the year also will help get alumni involved in the sesquicentennial at locations such as Naples, Florida.; Denver, Colorado; Scottsdale, Arizona; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Sedalia, Springfield, and Jefferson City, Missouri.
The university will continue to update its sesquicentennial website with more information about these and other spring, summer and fall events. Keep up to date online at 150.ucmo.edu.