The University started in 1960 as an Extension Center of the Normandy School District. Soon, with the help of local legislators, The University of Missouri took over the Center and the property, the former Bellerive County Club (see above). The first class graduated in 1967. The economics department was formed in 1965 with Ingo Walter (Ph.D., New York University), international economics, William Mitchell (Ph.D., Duke), public finance, David Emery (Ph.D., Minnesota), price theory, and John Hand (Ph.D., MIT), macro theory. All taught 3-4 classes and various fields from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. They shared offices in the club house and taught in Benton Hall. Students arrived 4000 one year and 8000 the next. Parking was a problem.

By 1972 new young assistant professors were added: Elizabeth Clayton (Ph.D., Washington), Soviet economy, Donald Phares (Ph.D., Syracuse), urban, Robert Sorensen (Ph.D., Virginia Tech), industrial organization, and Sharon Levin (Ph.D., Michigan), public finance. Along with Bill Mitchell, they all advanced to the rank of full professor and department chair. Elizabeth Clayton won the "triple crown" in economics as the first female professor hired, first female promoted and granted tenure, and first female to serve as department chair. This period was spent making adjustments, buying books, and setting curriculum. Senior professors were added: Joseph McKenna (Ph.D, Harvard) from Minnesota, Robert L. Allen (Ph.D., Harvard) from Oregon, Hugh O. Nourse (Ph.D., University of Chicago) from Illinois, and Thomas Ireland (Ph.D., Virginia) from Illinois State. Professors Nourse, Phares and Herbert Werner (Ph.D., California-Berkeley) were added for an urban emphasis. From 1967 to 1972 at least 13 buildings were completed or started. The University mission was changing, from extension to undergraduate, to limited graduated programs, to a special urban mission, to a full university.

By 1970 the department had become established and tenure standards had to be considered. Discussions centered around research, teaching, and service. After considerable discussion, research productivity was established as an absolute necessity to earn tenure. Teaching, however, was also ranked as highly important and remains so even to this day. Service was also to be given some credit. During this period the department also considered launching an urban Ph.D., then a general Ph.D., but ultimately rejected both. It was felt that the resources were not available to offer the kind of quality Ph.D. program the faculty desired. Parking remained a problem.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, many current faculty members arrived: David Rose (Ph.D., Virginia), Michael Allison (A.B.D., Virginia), Susan Feigenbaum (Ph.D. Wisconsin), Anne Winkler (Ph.D., Illinois), Clinton Greene (Ph.D., UC-Davis), and Donald Kridel (Ph.D., Arizona). In 2002, the University offered an attractive early retirement package, with many faculty seizing the opportunity: Levin, Mitchell, D. Phares, and Ireland, along with Sarapage McCorkle and Kathy Phares. Most recent faculty additions are Larry White (Ph.D., UCLA), Sel Dibooglu (Ph.D., Iowa State), Lea Kosnik (Ph.D., UCLA), William Rogers (Ph.D., Colorado State) and Brian Speicher (A.B.D., Washington University).

Today, parking remains a problem.

Written by Herb Werner
with assistance from Bob Sorensen,
February 2008