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Truman State University to Celebrate 150 Years

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — A state already rich in history will soon have another milestone to celebrate this fall when Truman State University reaches the 150th anniversary of its founding.
Truman’s history predates some of the most recognizable aspects of Missouri’s history. The school was around before the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, as well as the iconic Gateway Arch. The legendary Route 66 which stretched across the state has come and gone during Truman’s first 150 years, but the University remains.
Sept. 2, 1867 was the first day of classes at the University. At the time, it was known as the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College, the first of seven names it would eventually bear. That inaugural day was still 17 years prior to the birth of the University’s eventual namesake, Harry S. Truman, and 78 years before he would assume the highest office in the land.
When Pennsylvania native Joseph Baldwin founded Truman the nation was only two years removed from the Civil War. In fact, the August 1862 Battle of Kirksville played a role in the closure of an existing school, and access to the remaining building was a key factor in Baldwin establishing the University in northeast Missouri.
The same year the Kansas City Chiefs played in the first-ever Super Bowl, the University was celebrating its 100th year of existence. Originally created as a teachers college, Truman has transformed more than any other public school in the state. Additional programs were incorporated in the late 1960s, and the University’s reputation for academic excellence and value began to grow.
While many Missourians remember 1985 for the I-70 World Series between the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals, it also marks the year the Missouri legislature gave Truman a designated mission as the state’s only public liberal arts and sciences college.
Today, Truman enrolls approxi-mately 6,000 students and offers 52 undergraduate majors and graduate degrees in eight programs. The University’s reputation as a school that provides a great education has expanded well beyond the state. Among its many accolades, U.S. News & World Report has cited Truman as the No. 1 public school in the Midwest region for 20 consecutive years, and Washington Monthly has recognized Truman as a top master’s university in the nation.
To celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary, there will be a variety of activities throughout the 2017-18 academic year. For additional information and future updates, check out the sesquicentennial website at