From recognition at the Missouri State Capitol and the “We are UCM: 150 Years of Education for Service” celebration to a graduate student research competition and volunteer service projects, the University of Central Missouri officially kicks off its sesquicentennial this month.

The celebration commemorates an important historical achievement that began when the State Board of Regents voted on April 26, 1871, to approve Warrensburg as the site for the new State Normal School for the Second Normal District.

Special events throughout 2021–2022 will help retrace and celebrate the steps UCM has taken from its beginning as a small one-building college dedicated to training Missouri teachers to a comprehensive, technologically advanced university that today serves students from 43 states and 32 countries.

“Our sesquicentennial is an important milestone that allow us to reflect on our legacy of service to Missouri and consider the impact we’ve had on hundreds of thousands of students while also considering our future as a leading institution with our proud tradition of ‘Education for Service,’” said University President Roger Best. “We’re looking forward to celebrating throughout the year with members of the UCM campus, alumni, university friends, and local communities in observing this landmark anniversary."

Best added that UCM is “especially grateful for the dedication and commitment of our sesquicentennial planning committee members who have worked hard to make these activities possible."

UCM’s president will join other campus leaders at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City on Feb. 10, where the university will be formally recognized with a House resolution and Senate resolution honoring the 150th anniversary. UCM’s sesquicentennial celebration takes place as the state prepares to observe its own milestone. Missouri’s bicentennial is also in 2021, with Aug. 10 marking the date Missouri was admitted into the United States of America 200 years ago.

“We Are UCM: 150 Years of Education for Service” is the theme for a block of events scheduled for Feb. 1–13. Among them is a Door Decorating Contest, which is open to students, faculty/staff, offices, organizations and local businesses. Doors should reflect the “We Are UCM” theme. Decorating will take place from 8 a.m. Feb. 1 to 5 p.m. Feb. 5. All entries will be uploaded to the UCM Office of Student Activities Facebook page on Feb. 8, and voters will have an opportunity to “like” their favorites. Winners will be announced Feb. 12.

Other activities include “Bowl for Kids’ Sake,” which gives students in Greek Life, student housing and student organizations an opportunity to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Warrensburg. Fraternity and Sorority Life organizations will be at the Elliott Student Union Bowling Center from 8 to 11 p.m. Feb. 9. Other student organizations will be there from 7 to 11 p.m. Feb. 10. The cost is $10 per participant.

“Donation Creation,” 2-4 p.m. Feb. 9, is an opportunity for student organizations to show their creativity while benefiting the Campus Cupboard and Warrensburg Food Pantry. Each organization will collect nonperishable food items and use them to create a 3D scene that represents “We Are UCM: Education for Service.” The creations will be on display throughout the Student Wellness and Recreation Center (SWRC) through Friday, Feb. 12.

A variety of volunteer projects that aid the Warrensburg community are planned from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11 and will originate out of the Elliott Student Union. UCM and Warrensburg community members and organizations are welcome to participate.

The “We Are UCM Celebration: 150 Years of Education for Service” begins at 4 p.m. Feb. 12 in the SRWC. Participants will demonstrate their school spirit at an event that includes the crowning of campus royalty, archival displays in the SRWC atrium, and a presentation of a plaque to UCM’s president recognizing hours of service donated by UCM students toward campus and community projects.

Videos produced by students in the royalty competition in honor of UCM historic figures will be shown during the event. A presentation of awards recognizing winners of competitive student activities that occurred earlier in the week, also will take place. Plans are being made to make these activities available for viewing on Zoom.

Other February activities include the 3MT Competition at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Elliott Student Union Auditorium. This event is designed to help graduate students develop academic, presentation, research and communication skills and support the development of students’ abilities to verbally share their research with a general audience. The competition will consist of live and virtual presentations.

Also in February is the “150th Exhibition: UCM @150: The First 50 Years” at the Arthur F. McClure Archives and University Museum in the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. This exhibit is free and open to the public 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Additional sesquicentennial events are planned this spring. To view the complete calendar and obtain more information about these activities, visit

In the photo: Built in 1871, the same year the University of Central Missouri was founded, Old Main was the hub of activity on campus until it was destroyed by fire in 2015.

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