By Jeff Murphy, November 30, 2021
A scene from many decades ago, students, faculty and staff fill the campus assembly hall at the State Normal School for the Second Normal District.
WARRENSBURG, MO – Join University of Central Missouri 2014 Distinguished Alumna Meryl
Lin McKean and UCM President Roger J. Best to support local public broadcasting as
they host a pledge drive at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, during KMOS-TV’s airing of “Mule Tracks: UCM After 150 Years.”
This in-depth program produced by the staff at KMOS-TV celebrates UCM’s rich history from its founding in 1871 as the State Normal School for the Second Normal District to its role today in educating students from Missouri and across the globe. Viewers will learn more about the university through official archive materials, historian interviews and recollections by current and former university leaders. They will also have an opportunity to pledge their financial gifts in support of the university’s public television station. While all support is welcome, a gift of $240 ($20 per month) comes with a Blue Ray DVD of the documentary and a copy of the “University of Central Missouri: 150 Years of Education for Service” book that was created in celebration of the university’s sesquicentennial in 2021.
Narrated by Marion “Woody” Woods (1450 KOKO/98.5 The Bar), “Mule Tracks” details significant events in the evolution of the university’s academic structure and the growth of the campus. This program premiered on KMOS-HD Channel 6.1 on Oct. 19, during the 2021 Homecoming week celebration. Additional information is available at kmos.org/ucm150.
The two-hour documentary is rich with insights from university presidents including Best and some of his predecessors, Chuck Ambrose (2010-2018), Bobby Patton (1999-2005) and Ed Elliott (1985-1999). Providing additional perspective are former First Lady Sandra Elliott and Jerry Hughes, vice president of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Beginning with the establishment of the State Normal Schools by the Missouri Legislature, this documentary follows the progression of the institution through many changes. Originally founded to train public school teachers, State Normal School No. 2 was granted status in 1919 as the four-year Central Missouri State Teachers College. It grew to become Central Missouri State College in 1946, then attained university status in 1972 to reflect its expanding campus, curriculum and enrollment. In 2006 the name was modified to signal a mission beyond the region, turning Central Missouri State University into the University of Central Missouri.
After opening 150 years ago with an enrollment of 30 students gathered on the second floor of the Warrensburg High School, UCM has grown to meet the challenges of a changing world and become a comprehensive state university that currently serves approximately 10,500 students.
In presenting the history of UCM, KMOS producers consulted several historians including Ashley McGuffey, author of “University of Central Missouri: 150 Years of Education for Service”; Delia Cook Gillis, professor of History and Africana Studies; Jon Taylor, professor of History; Amber Clifford-Napoleone, director of the McClure Archives and University Museum; Sara Brooks Sundberg, professor of History; and Bruce Uhler, president of the Johnson County Historical Society.
KMOS-TV is a noncommercial public station serving the citizens of 38 central Missouri counties with high-quality, educational content and experiences online, over-the-air and in our communities. KMOS-TV broadcasts programming on four channels throughout the region with programs for all ages on 6.1, lifestyle and how-to programs on 6.2, international news, documentaries and dramas on 6.3, and a full schedule of children’s programming to fit the schedule of every busy family on 6.4.
Licensed to UCM, KMOS is integral to engaged learning as a professional learning lab for students from a variety of disciplines. In the spring of 2020, families seeking educational alternatives for their students with COVID-19 school closures looked to broadcasts of “KMOS Classroom: Summer School” for free lessons and materials. The 72-lesson series was a collaboration between KMOS and UCM’s College of Education.