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Mission and History

The University of Missouri as a System

University of Missouri Mission Statement
The University of Missouri serves the people of Missouri by providing instructional, research, and extension programs. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, which respond to student needs and serve the broader economic, social, and cultural needs of the state. The university offers doctoral degrees and is committed to the creation of new knowledge through research. Through its extension programs, the University extends its knowledge base throughout the state.

The fundamental purpose of the university is to provide enlightened and able graduates who have the potential to provide leadership in the economic, social, and cultural development of the state and nation. The university has well defined admission requirements, which ensure a high probability of academic success for its students.

As the state's only public, doctoral granting, research institution, the university has a major commitment to research, scholarly work, and creativity. The university emphasizes graduate and professional programs, and, as a land grant institution, the university selectively extends the results of its research throughout the state.

The university is committed to the principles of academic freedom, equal opportunity, diversity, and to protecting the search for truth and its open expression. These commitments are indispensable to the fulfillment of the university's missions.

The university is governed by a bipartisan Board of Curators as established by the State Constitution. In all areas, the board welcomes advice from all those in the university community and seeks specific advice on matters concerning academic issues. The board delegates the management of the university to the President and Chancellors of the institution. The President and the Chancellors seek advice from others within the university community in the day-to-day management of the institution.

The university was established by the citizens to serve Missouri but the benefits of its programs and graduates extend to the nation and the world.

History and Development
The University of Missouri System is the oldest state university system west of the Mississippi River. The University of Missouri-Columbia campus was founded in 1839. The University remained a single campus until the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy was established at Rolla in 1870, the same year that a college of agriculture was added at Columbia. At that time the University also assumed land-grant responsibilities of attempting to provide higher education opportunity for all citizens. In 1963 the state added the University of Kansas City to the UM system and a new campus was started in St. Louis, completing the present structure.

The University of Missouri-St. Louis

UMSL Mission Statement
The University of Missouri-St. Louis is the land-grant research institution committed to meeting the diverse needs in the state's largest metropolitan community and as such is educating traditional and nontraditional students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs so that they may provide leadership in health professions; liberal and fine arts; science and technology; and metropolitan affairs such as business, education and public policy.

Academic programs are enriched through advanced technologies and partnerships that link the University of Missouri-St. Louis to institutions and businesses locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. Its special commitment to partnership has provided UMSL with a leadership role among public educational and cultural institutions in improving the region's quality of life as does its unique relations with two and four-year colleges and universities in the St. Louis region which promote seamless educational opportunities.

History and growth of UMSL
When the Normandy School District offered in 1958 to buy 128 acres of the former Bellerive Country Club for a community college site, the plan was locally criticized as a "speculative venture." Despite this criticism, a bond issue was passed to buy the land. Two years later, in September 1960, the two-year Normandy Residence Center opened for classes. Enrollment totaled 215 freshmen, who squeezed into 12 classrooms in the old clubhouse. Four full-time and eight part-time faculty were provided by the University of Missouri. After three years of operation as a residence Center, the Normandy School District and the university reached an agreement for the university to purchase the property and assume operation of the center. In September 1963, the Normandy Residence Center became the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The Bellerive Country Clubs clubhouse remained the only campus structure until 1966, when Benton Hall, the first classroom-laboratory building, was completed, followed by Clark Hall in late 1968, the Thomas Jefferson Library in 1969, and Stadler Hall in 1970. Classroom space was nearly doubled in 1971 with the completion of five more buildings: The Mark Twain Building; the University Center, UM-St. Louis' student union; the J.C. Penney Building, the only privately financed building on campus; Lucas Hall, the home of the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Social Sciences and Business Building. In 1976 construction was completed on two more buildings: the General Services Building and Woods Hall, the central administration building.

In 1976 the university also purchased the former Marillac College south of Natural Bridge Road and thus acquired the cornerstone of what would become the South Campus. The 1990s was a decade of rapid growth for the campus with the addition of the dormitory, chapel, and administration buildings of the Sacred Heart Sisters, which afforded on-campus living for the first time in UMSL history. The Passionist Fathers Retreat Center was also acquired, adding more dormitory rooms for residential students. The University Meadows, a gated student apartment complex was built in a public/private partnership, which utilized undeveloped land adjoining the South Campus.

The Kathy J. Weinman Building was funded by private donations and now houses the Childrens Advocacy Center and the Center for Trauma Recovery. In 1999 the Provincial House buildings of the Daughters of Charity were added, and in 2002 the Normandy Hospital building as acquired, bringing the South Campus complex to 44 acres, more than 20 buildings, and 1000 residential units. The South Campus is home to the Pierre Laclede Honors College; the College of Education; the Barnes College of Nursing and Health Studies; and College of Optometry with its on-campus Eye Center, which serves the community as well as UMSL employees.

In the 1990s, the campus began a series of property acquisitions surrounding the North Campus in the communities of Normandy and Cool Valley along either side of University Boulevard (formerly North Florissant Road), and in unincorporated St. Louis County bounded by I-70, Hanley Road, and Natural Bridge Road, where the master plan projects 2000 new student residence units, green spaces, and the I-70 Business, Technology and Research Park. During the same period the university added the William L. Clay Molecular Electronics Building; the studio arts complex; the Millennium Student Center (funded by students, and slated as a one-stop-shop for student services) which connects via sky bridge to the core academic quadrangle of the North Campus; redesigned West Campus Drive, connecting the entrance to Natural Bridge Road; completed three 600-space parking garages, one on West Campus and two on East Campus drive; acquired the St. Louis Mercantile Library; built the Computer Center Building; and in 2003 opened the $56 million Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, another private/public venture for the campus. Future plans for the campus include the construction of a new campus main entrance off of University Boulevard, below the Touhill Performing Arts Center; a renovation of the science complex in Benton and Stadler halls; conversion of the General Services Building into a home for the College of Fine Arts and Communication; and the addition of a building for the College of Business Administration.

From its beginning, on what was once the site of a country club with a single building, the University of Missouri-St. Louis has grown to a campus of more than 50 buildings and structures situated on over 300 acres. Via Metrolink stops on both the South and North Campuses, students have direct access to the numerous educational, cultural, social, shopping, entertainment, and sports complexes in St. Louis County and in Downtown St. Louis. From its beginning as a commuter campus, UMSL now offers a full campus life experience to students from St. Louis and the world, including over 750 international students, representing some 100 countries in the Fall 2003 semester.

The foresight of the people involved in that "speculative venture" has been substantiated by time. Today, the University of Missouri-St. Louis has an enrollment of more than 16,000 students, making UMSL the second largest of the University of Missouris four campuses, the largest university in the St. Louis area, and the third largest in the state. The campus has more than 900 full- and part-time faculty, with more than 90 percent holding doctorates, a figure that far exceeds the national average.

The campus has more than 70,000 alumni, with more than 85 percent of them having chosen to remain in the area after graduation and who now serve as leaders in St. Louis area business, industry, and education. The academic structure has expanded to include the College of Arts and Sciences with 15 academic departments; the College of Business Administration with 6 academic areas; the College of Education with 4 academic divisions; the College of Fine Arts and Communication with 4 academic departments; the Graduate School; the Evening College; the College of Optometry; the Barnes College of Nursing and Health Studies; the Pierre Laclede Honors College; an office of Continuing Education and Outreach; and the UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program. UMSL's curriculum has grown to include 56 undergraduate programs, 7 pre-professional programs, 29 master's programs, 13 doctoral programs, and 1 professional degree program. There are programs that address the particular needs of older students; of students interested in urban careers; and of those who need special help in tackling university-level work.