Truman State University

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Truman State University is a public liberal arts and sciences university in Missouri.

It is located in the city of Kirksville in northeastern Missouri, and is named after President Harry Truman, the only American President from the state.



Situated in the southern portion of the city of Kirksville, Truman's main campus is situated around a slightly wooded quadrangle.

Buildings on the Quad include the new Baldwin Hall, Pickler Memorial Library, the Kirk Memorial, Kirk Building (the oldest building on campus, built in 1922), and Ophelia Parrish (visual and performing arts educational facility). Other structures are generally situated behind or near buildings on the Quad, and these include the Missouri Hall dormitory, the Blanton-Nason-Brewer Hall complex dormitory, the Dobson Hall dormitory, Violette Hall (educational facility), a Career and Health Center, and Magruder Hall (a newly renovated science facility).

Four university buildings are situated along the border of the traditional university on Franklin Street to the west, including Barnett Hall (science and nursing education facility), Centennial Hall dormitory, the Student Union building, and McClain Hall (administration and education facility). To the south of the original campus includes Ryle Hall dormitory, Fair Apartments (including a small convenience store operated by campus food service, Sodexho), E.C. Grim Hall dormitory, and the Pershing Building athletic facility.


In the 1960s the university built Dobson Hall (1961), Ryle Hall (1963), Missouri Hall (1965) and Centennial Hall (1967). There are two other dormitories on campus: Blanton-Nason-Brewer (1948) and Ezra C. Grim Hall (originally a local home, later incorporated as a dormitory in the 1920s).

Dobson Hall is coed by wing and houses roughly 400 students who share community bathrooms. Each floor is equipped with a lounge and a kitchenette (except first floor). There is a pool table and foosball table on the first floor. Mail is distributed in a common mail-box area and packages are picked up by residents at the hall desk. The hall houses a computer lab and in-house laundry facilities. It does not have a cafeteria, so students usually travel to nearby Ryle Hall for meals, though some travel to Missouri Hall or to Centennial Hall. Dobson has an in-house radio station (Dobson Radio) that broadcasts to the university.

Ryle Hall is the second-largest dormitory and Centennial Hall is the largest. These similar coed dorms house nearly 600 students in suite-style rooms, with generally two rooms, or four people, sharing one bathroom. Floors three, four, and five feature kitchenettes, and every floor except the first has a lounge. Ryle also has a spacious main lounge that is often used for small on-campus events. The two dorms also feature dining rooms, computer labs, mailboxes, vending machines, laundry rooms, and each also has a classroom used by the Residential College Program. The primary difference between the two dorms is that Ryle's cafeteria is located on the first floor, beneath their large lounge area. Centennial's slightly smaller cafeteria bisects the second floor, and the smaller lounge area sits directly below.

Missouri Hall is co-ed, and houses over 600 students. The building contains a cafeteria that serves Missouri Hall residents and residents from across the campus.


Truman State University was founded in 1867 by Joseph Baldwin as the First Missouri Normal School and Commercial College. Baldwin is considered a pioneer in education and his school quickly gained official recognition in 1870 by the Missouri General Assembly, which designated it as the first public teaching college in Missouri.

The school continued to grow and Basil Brewer wrote the school song "The Purple and White" in 1902, and thus the colors of the university became purple and white.

Thirteen years later, in 1915, the bulldog became the official mascot of the college (two bulldogs are currently the "mascots" of the university, Spike and Simeon). In 1924 a massive fire destroyed Old Baldwin Hall and the library. Both Baldwin Hall and the library were rebuilt, with funds for the new library donated by alumnus Joseph Pickler.

The college was renamed Northeast Missouri State University in 1972, and in 1983 the university was awarded the G. Theodore Mitau Award for Innovation and Change in Higher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Northeast Missouri State continued its push for excellence and had not gone unnoticed by the state government. On June 20, 1985, Governor John Ashcroft signed a bill that designated the university as Missouri's only statewide public liberal arts and sciences university. This changed the school's mission to a state-wide rather than a regional (northeast) objective.

The school continued to win praise from such publications as US News and World Report and its reputation spread. Many of the students by-passed crowded and costly alternatives such as Washington University in favor of Truman's small size, pleasant small-town atmosphere and rigorous academic studies in the liberal arts and sciences.

By the 1990s, the university no longer was solely a teachers' college. The college had a nationally-known accounting division, schools of science and mathematics, computer science and literature. Indeed, just 10 years after Governor Ashcroft's designation, Governor Mel Carnahan signed legislation renaming the school to its current Truman State University title. Several schools had petitioned for the Truman name, but only Northeast Missouri State University demonstrated the academic excellence and national reputation worthy of being named after Missouri's only president. Truman State University has since become Missouri's premier public liberal arts and sciences institution.

In recent years, there are approximately 6000 students earning degrees in 43 undergraduate and 9 graduate programs. Ninety-four percent of graduates go on to work and study fields related to their degree of study. President Barbara Dixon is the current president of the university. She is the 14th president of the school. The names and legacies of past university presidents continue to live on in buildings and monuments around campus; a list of them follows:


A notable feature of Truman State University is its nationally-renowned debate team. With a history of excellence stretching back to the late 1800s, Truman has won several national titles in parliamentary debate, competing in the National Parliamentary Debate Association national tournament. Truman won the 2000 NPDA final round on a 7-0 decision, as well as the 2004 NPDA final round on a 9-0 decision. The team has more elimination round appearances in the national tournament than any other university.

Truman also won the 2004 and 2001 Round Robin Tournament of Champions, the MAFA state debate tournament in 2004, 2003, and 2002, and had the first and second speaker at the 2004 NPDA national tournament.


Truman is a member of NCAA Division II and plays in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association conference. The athletic department sponsors 19 teams, 10 mens and 9 womens, more than any other school in Missouri. Among Truman's most recent successes include five straight women's swimming titles, three regional championships for women's volleyball, and an undefeated regular season for men's soccer.

University presidents

Truman State University maintains a long tradition of naming its campus buildings, including educational facilities and dormitories, after its previous university presidents.

  • Joseph Baldwin (1867-1881)
  • William P. Nason (1881-1882)
  • Joseph Blanton (1882-1891)
  • William D. Dobson (1891-1899)
  • John R. Kirk (1899-1925) Contrary to popular belief, the city of Kirksville was not named in honor of John R. Kirk.
  • Eugene Fair (1925-1937)
  • Walter H. Ryle (1937-1967)
  • F. Clark Elkins (1967-1969)
  • Eli F. Mittler (1969-1970)
  • Charles J. McClain (1970-1989)
  • Robert A. Dager (1989-1990)
  • Russell G. Warren (1990-1994)
  • W. Jack Magruder (1994-2003) Widely popular, Magruder was known for often being able to obtain necessary funding from the state legislature for the university, and during his administration the phrase "Truman is the Harvard of the Midwest" came into use.
  • Barbara Dixon (2003-Present) Provoking outrage in the summer of 2003 for her use of university funds during a budget crisis to renovate the university-provided President's Mansion, Dixon's installation as university president was held in November of 2003.

External link

See also

Template:Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association


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