Missouri State University

From Academic Kids

Although it will change its name to Missouri State University in August 2005, the currently-named Southwest Missouri State University with its main campus located in Springfield Is Missouri's second largest university and its main campus is second only to the University of Missouri - Columbia campus in student enrollment. In addition to its main campus, SMSU has a two-year branch campus in West Plains and a research campus in Mountain Grove.



Southwest Missouri State University was founded in Springfield in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. During its early years, the institution's primary purpose was the preparation of teachers for the public school systems in the southwest region of Missouri. The first name change came in 1919 when the school became Southwest Missouri State Teachers College, reflecting its regional mission.

By the mid-1940s, the University had expanded its instructional program beyond teacher education to include the liberal arts and sciences. As a consequence, in 1945 the Missouri legislature authorized an official change in the institution's name to Southwest Missouri State College.

In 1963 a residence center offering freshman and sophomore level courses was established at West Plains. Now, as a second campus of the university with its own mission, the West Plains campus offers a two-year general education program which is fully integrated with programs on the main campus as well as other specialty and skills courses.

By 1972, as additional programs were implemented at the undergraduate level and with the development of graduate education, the University had become an educationally diverse institution. Recognition of this further growth and development again resulted in an official name change to Southwest Missouri State University. Today, the institution is a multipurpose metropolitan university providing diverse instructional, research, and service programs.

In 1995, then-Governor Mel Carnahan signed into law a bill establishing the statewide SMSU Public Affairs Mission, which is intended "to produce citizens of enhanced character, more sensitive to the needs of community, more competent and committed in their ability to contribute to society, and more civil in their habits of thought, speech and action."

The name, Missouri State University, is also a former name of the University of Missouri - Columbia. UMC, however, has not used the Missouri State University name to refer to itself for many decades.

About the University

Total enrollment is over 19,000. Academic offerings include 43 graduate programs and over 150 undergraduate majors. The university's mascot is the bear, and its athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA.

Celebrety Alumni include actors Tess Harper, John Goodman and Kathleen Turner, original members of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and late golfer Payne Stewart.


There is a heated controversy over whether the university should modify its nondiscrimination policy to include "sexual orientation" as an officially protected status. Current university president Dr. John Keiser has firmly opposed the change, and the issue remains deeply divisive.

On March 1st, 2005, the bill to rename the university passed the Missouri Senate (25-7) and the Missouri House (120-35) before the Governor signed it into law. The signing took place on March 17th, 2005 -- the centennial anniversary of the university.

Updated News

Dr. Michael T. Nietzel, provost at the University of Kentucky, was introduced on March 4 as the ninth president of Southwest Missouri State University. He also will be a tenured professor in the psychology department. Nietzel, 57, will begin his duties July 1.

See also

External links

Missouri Valley Conference:
Bradley | Creighton | Drake | Evansville | Illinois State | Indiana State
Missouri State | Northern Iowa | Southern Illinois | Wichita State
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Missouri Valley Conference

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