University of Missouri System

Last updated
University of Missouri System
University of Missouri seal.svg
Type Public
Endowment $1.73 billion (2020) [1]
President Mun Choi
Academic staff
5,937 (Fall 2014) [2]
Administrative staff
17,786 (Fall 2014) [2]
Students76,037 (Fall 2016) [2]
Location, ,
Campus20,019-acre (31.3 sq mi; 8,101.4 ha) [2]

The University of Missouri System is an American state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, and ten research and technology parks. Nearly 70,000 students [2] are currently enrolled at its four campuses. The health care system operates several hospitals and clinics in central Missouri, [3] while the extension program provides distance learning and other educational initiatives statewide. [4]


The UM System was created in 1963 when the University of Missouri (founded in 1839 in Columbia) and the Missouri School of Mines (now the Missouri University of Science and Technology, founded in 1870 in Rolla), were combined with the formerly private University of Kansas City (now University of Missouri–Kansas City, founded in 1933), and a newly created campus in suburban St. Louis (University of Missouri–St. Louis) in 1963.


Mizzou logo University of Missouri logo.svg
Mizzou logo
Missouri S&T logo Missouri S&T logo.svg
Missouri S&T logo


All four campuses are comprehensive, separately accredited, land-grant/research-intensive institutions offering undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

Health care

The University of Missouri Health Care system operates several facilities in central Missouri, including University Hospital (the only Level I trauma center in central Missouri [19] ) and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center (the only hospital in Missouri specializing in cancer treatment [20] ). It is also closely affiliated with MU's School of Medicine, University of Missouri School of Health Professions, and Sinclair School of Nursing.

It employs 4,515 employees. [21]


Using science-based knowledge, University of Missouri Extension engages people to understand change, solve problems and make informed decisions.

MU Extension makes university education and information accessible for:

University of Missouri Extension is a partnership of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Lincoln University, the people of Missouri through county extension councils, and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

MU Extension offers distance learning, Mizzou Online, continuing education, evening classes,. [22] Programs in agriculture, natural resources, lawn and garden, home and consumer life, nutrition and health, families and relationships, community and leadership, business and careers, and emergency management [23] are available through offices throughout the state. [24]

Research and technology parks

As part of its economic development mission to support high-tech growth in Missouri, the UM System owns and operates 10 research parks throughout the state. [25]


The University of Missouri Press was established in 1958 and today publishes over 70 titles per year, including several series such as the Missouri Biography Series. It also distributes books for the Missouri Historical Society Press.

Students organization

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri is a student run organization that represents the students of all four UM system campuses in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. It was created in 1975 by the Missouri Students Association. ASUM has an internship program that lobbies the Missouri General Assembly on a regular basis pertaining to student issues including equalizing the Access Missouri tuition grant, increasing funding for the Bright Flight Scholarship, and giving the student representative to the UM Board of Curators a vote.



The UM System is governed by a board of curators, consisting of nine members appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Missouri Senate. Curators serve six-year terms, staggered by three positions expiring every two years. Not more than one curator can be appointed from the same congressional district, and no more than five curators can belong to the same political party. In addition, there is a non-voting student representative to the board, likewise appointed and confirmed, who serves a two-year term. The post is rotated among the four universities. [39] Presently, the post is held by Avery Welker from the S&T campus. [39]

The board of curators selects the president of the system, who reports to the board along with the general counsel. Each campus is led by a chancellor who reports to the president, as does an executive vice president, four vice presidents, and a chief of staff. The president chairs the University of Missouri Health System advisory board. [40]


There have been ten presidents of UM System since its inception in 1963. Prior to the formation of the system, the position of president was more akin to what is now chancellor of the Columbia campus. [41] However, the UM System counts presidents who served before the system was created, therefore the numbering starts at 14. [42] See University of Missouri#Presidents and chancellors for a list of presidents from 1841 to 1963 and chancellors from 1963–present. This list does not include all interim presidents.

  1. Elmer Ellis (1963–1966) [43]
  2. John C. Weaver (1966–1970)
  3. C. Brice Ratchford (1971–1976)
  4. James C. Olson (1977–1984)
    Mel George (interim; 1984–1985)
  5. C. Peter Magrath (1985–1991)
  6. George A. Russell (1991–1996)
    Mel George (interim; 1996–1997)
  7. Manuel T. Pacheco (1997–2002)
  8. Elson Floyd (2003–2007)
  9. Gary D. Forsee (2008–2011)
    Steve Owens (interim; 2011–Feb. 15, 2012)
  10. Timothy M. Wolfe (Feb. 15, 2012 – Nov. 9, 2015) [44]
    Mike Middleton (interim; Nov. 12, 2015–Feb. 28, 2017) [45]
  11. Mun Choi (2017–present) [46]


The University of Missouri was founded in 1839 in Columbia. It was the first public institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. It became a land-grant university after passage of the Morrill Act of 1862. In 1870, the University established the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla.

The UM System was created in 1963 when the University of Kansas City, which had been a private institution, was acquired and renamed University of Missouri-Kansas City. That same year, a new university named University of Missouri-St. Louis was created. In 1964, the School of Mines ‡ was renamed the University of Missouri-Rolla, and the original university in Columbia was renamed University of Missouri-Columbia. Effective January 1, 2008, UM–Rolla became the Missouri University of Science and Technology.


Since its founding in 1839 until the formation of the system in 1963, the institution in Columbia was known simply as the University of Missouri. When the University of Missouri System was established, the existing institutions—the University of Missouri in Columbia and its offshoot, the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy in Rolla were renamed the University of Missouri–Columbia and the University of Missouri–Rolla. [47] The formerly private institution acquired by the system, the University of Kansas City, was renamed the University of Missouri–Kansas City. The newly created institution in St. Louis was suitably named the University of Missouri–St. Louis, thus creating a uniformly named system of institutions.

The original generic name, the University of Missouri, was not officially assigned to any of the schools or the system. However, it has been commonly used both formally and informally to mean the original Columbia campus or the system. It has also been used to mean any of the other three campuses, though this is most often done in a casual manner at the campus in question, or by persons unfamiliar with the system. All four campuses have felt their regional designations potentially cause them to be mistaken as second-tier regional institutions. Considerable controversy over use of the generic name has been caused by the Columbia campus claiming de facto ownership, further marginalizing the other three campuses.

The Rolla campus was first to enact a break from regional designation. On 6 April 2007, the Board of Curators approved a proposal to rename the school the Missouri University of Science and Technology, effective 1 January 2008. In addition to ridding itself of a regional designation, it also emphasizes the school's technological research mission. [48] This quickly catalyzed a long-dormant "name restoration" campaign at the Columbia campus to drop its regional designation. [49] This proposal met with considerable criticism, mainly from the Kansas City and St. Louis campuses, who saw this as unnecessary or unfair and an intentional detriment to their campuses. On 29 November 2007, the Board of Curators voted unanimously to allow the Columbia campus to use the generic University of Missouri name for essentially all public purposes, but not when dealing with "official business" such as budget documents, legal contracts, and other internal UM System documentation, or whenever clarification from the system or other campuses is needed. Use of the generic name is not compulsory and the Columbia designation may continue to be used in any context. The decision also stipulates that the UM System utilize the "System" designation in most instances. Proponents of the change say that it simply provides clarification and recognizes what has always been common usage, but the issue remains controversial.

Southwest Missouri State University sought and eventually was granted permission to drop its regional designation and become Missouri State University. This change was initially vehemently opposed by the UM System, as it saw this as a threat to its funding and its stature as the premier public institution of higher learning in Missouri. It also would create historic entanglements, as the University of Missouri had interchangeably used the Missouri State University name at times in its history. This resulted from MU being designated as both a land grant and a research institution, unlike states such as Iowa where separate institutions (University of Iowa and Iowa State University) were created. [50]

Proposed merger

In April 2003, Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville approached the UM System with the possibility of becoming the fifth school in the system. Name proposals for the university after the merger, such as the University of Missouri–Northwest, were to reflect the school's separate heritage. The Maryville institution would have become a doctoral degree-granting research university of equal stature with the existing UM System universities. [51] [52] However, the enabling legislation before the Missouri General Assembly never passed and the deal sunset. There have been no further attempts at a merger.[ citation needed ]

2015 racial controversies, protests, and resignations

In 2015, Wolfe was the subject of criticism from a variety of groups over his failure to address a series of racist incidents at the University of Missouri, including students openly using racial slurs towards minority student leaders, and an October incident where feces was used to draw a swastika, drawing condemnation from black and Jewish student organizations. [53] In November 2015, Missouri's Legion of Black Collegians announced that approximately thirty athletes would not participate in any team activities unless Wolfe resigned. [54] On November 8, 2015, the Missouri Student Association joined in calling for Wolfe's resignation. [55]

On November 9, 2015, Wolfe resigned at a special Board of Curators meeting that morning. [56] In a statement, he said, "My motivation in making this decision comes from a love of Columbia where I grew up and the state of Missouri. I thought and prayed over this decision. It is the right thing to do. ... The frustration and anger I see is real and I don't doubt it for a second. ... I take full responsibility for the actions that have occurred. I have asked everybody to use my resignation to heal. Let's focus in changing what we can change today and in the future, not what we can't change in the past." [56] [57]

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In 2015, a series of protests at the University of Missouri related to race, workplace benefits, and leadership resulted in the resignations of the president of the University of Missouri System and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus. The moves came after a series of events that included a hunger strike by a student and a boycott by the football team. The movement was primarily led by a student group named Concerned Student 1950. The movement and protests were documented in two films, one made by MU student journalists and the other, 2 Fists Up, by Spike Lee. While it is alleged that bad publicity from the protests has led to dropping enrollment and cutbacks, others have cited budget cuts issued from the state legislature.

University of Missouri School of Music School of Music within the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri

The School of Music is an academic division of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. Its focus is the study of music, awarding baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees as part of the College of Arts and Science. The institution's programs encompass composition, performance, conducting, music education, music history, musical theatre and musicology. Established in 1917 as the Department of Music, the school continues to play a prominent role in the cultural life of Missouri and is located in the Sinquefield Music Center, on the University's flagship campus in Downtown Columbia. The Fine Arts Building also houses classrooms, studios, and a recital hall. Its major performance venues are Jesse Hall, the Missouri Theatre, and Whitmore Recital Hall. The Missouri Tigers marching band, Marching Mizzou, performs at Faurot Field for Southeastern Conference football games. The school's ensembles have performed worldwide and can be heard weekly on the University's own KMUC 90.5 FM Classical, Mid-Missouri's classical music radio station. Alumni include singers Sheryl Crow and Neal Boyd, Canadian Brass founder Gene Watts, and jazz artist Mike Metheny.

Mun Choi Chancellor of the University of Missouri and President of the University of Missouri System

Mun Young Choi is an American academic, Chancellor of the University of Missouri, and current President of the University of Missouri System. Prior to his appointment at Missouri he was Provost & Executive Vice President at the University of Connecticut. He has also taught at Drexel University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He lives in Columbia, Missouri.


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