COLUMBIA - Tuesday marks the 175th anniversary of the University of Missouri's founding Feb. 11, 1839. MU was founded as part of the Geyer Act to establish a state land-grant university, the first west of the Mississippi River.
Citizens of Columbia and Boone County pledged more than 117 thousand dollars in cash and land to beat out five other mid-Missouri counties for the location of the state university. The university was eventually constructed on land owned by James S. Rollins just south of Columbia's downtown.
Mizzou became the first university in Thomas Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase. The university was designed upon Thomas Jefferson's original plans for the University of Virginia. As a result, Jefferson's heirs gave the original tombstone of Thomas Jefferson to MU in July 1883.
The Student Center on MU's campus will hold a birthday celebration on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to one p.m. The program will feature new Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, student leaders, Mini Mizzou and the Spirit Squad.