Northwest Missouri State University
Former names
Fifth District Normal School (1905–1919)
Northwest Missouri State Teacher's College (1919–1949)
Northwest Missouri State College (1949–1972)
TypePublic university
Established1905; 119 years ago (1905)
Endowment$27.26 million (2017)[1]
PresidentLance Tatum
ProvostJamie Hooyman
Academic staff
292 (Fall 2017)[2]
Students8,505 (Fall 2022)[2]
Undergraduates5,324 (Fall 2022)[2]
Postgraduates3,305 (Fall 2022)[2]
Location, ,
United States

40°21′12″N 94°53′00″W / 40.353306°N 94.88340°W / 40.353306; -94.88340
CampusRural, 370 acres (149.7 ha)
ColorsBearcat green and white[3]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIThe MIAA
MascotBobby Bearcat

Northwest Missouri State University (NW Missouri) is a public university in Maryville, Missouri. It has an enrollment of about 8,505 students.[4] Founded in 1905 as a teachers college, its campus is based on the design for Forest Park at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair and is the official Missouri State Arboretum.[5] The school is governed by a state-appointed Board of Regents and headed by President Lance Tatum.

The Northwest Bearcats compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (Division II) and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association for men's and women's sports.

Map of Northwest Campus



History of Northwest Missouri State College, Bell Tower exhibit

In 1905, the Missouri Legislature created five districts in the state to establish normal schools, comprising a state teacher college network.

Maryville won the competition for the Northwest district with an offer to donate 86 acres (34.8 ha) (on coincidentally the northwest corner of town) and $58,000 on the site of a Methodist Seminary. The other districts in the network were to be at Kirksville (Northeast – now Truman State), Cape Girardeau (Southeast), Springfield (Southwest – now Missouri State), and Warrensburg (Central – now Central Missouri).

The original mission of the school, initially known as the Fifth District Normal School, was to teach elementary school teachers. Classes began on June 13, 1906, with a lab school teaching Maryville's children (that was eventually named the Horace Mann school) in kindergarten through third grade. The school was later expanded to a full-fledged high school before dropping back to its current configuration of kindergarten through sixth grade.

Class of 1948 bell

In 1919 the school was renamed Northwest Missouri State Teacher's College, and with that came the ability to grant baccalaureate degrees. In 1949 the name was shrunk to Northwest Missouri State College by the Board of Regents.

World War II

During World War II, Northwest Missouri State University was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[6]

Rivalry with Missouri Western

In 1969, Missouri Governor Warren Hearnes pushed for switching St. Joseph Junior College from a two-year school into a four-year state college. At approximately the same time, authorities decided against a plan to continue routing Interstate 29 north of St. Joseph along U.S. Route 71 through Maryville and Clarinda, Iowa, instead picking a route to Council Bluffs, Iowa/Omaha, Nebraska along the sparsely populated Missouri River bottoms.

Opening a new four-year state school within 45 miles (72 km) of Maryville (along with a delay in widening U.S. Route 71 to Maryville) was perceived[who?] in Maryville as an attempt to kill the school and the town with which it is intertwined. Those fears came to the forefront in 1988 when Shalia Aery, commissioner of higher education under Governor John Ashcroft, announced a plan to close the school.[7] The plan was ultimately withdrawn.

Northwest Missouri State University

On August 14, 1972, Northwest was elevated to university status so that it could offer master's degrees. Its name changed to Northwest Missouri State University.

The university currently holds four Missouri Quality Awards, granted in 1997, 2001, 2005, and 2008. Northwest is the only educational institution to receive multiple Missouri Quality Awards.[8]

The President's home is the Thomas Gaunt House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1987, Northwest unveiled its Electronic Campus Program, the first such program among public U.S. colleges.[9]

Missouri State Arboretum

Main article: Missouri State Arboretum

The Administration Building rises above the Missouri State Arboretum

The campus design was inspired by the Forest Park design for the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, which evolved into the campus for Washington University in St. Louis. In 1993 the state legislature designated Northwest the official Missouri State Arboretum.


Administration building

Administrative Building
Northwest's Administration Building
Northwest Missouri State University is located in Missouri
Northwest Missouri State University
Northwest Missouri State University is located in the United States
Northwest Missouri State University
Location800 University Dr, Maryville, Missouri
Area3.2 acres (1.3 ha)
ArchitectFelt, J.H. and Co; Marshall, D.E. and Co
Architectural styleLate Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No.10000504[10]
Added to NRHPJune 11, 2010


The defining landmark of the campus is the Administration Building, very similar to Brookings Hall at Washington University in St. Louis. Brookings Hall served as the Administration Building of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. The master St. Louis design was created by Cope & Stewardson, famed for designing schools throughout the country based on the Oxford University style.[11] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.[10]

The Collegiate Gothic structure with its central tower keep design evokes Tattershall Castle and lords over the campus with the motto, "And the truth shall make you free," engraved in stone. Because of this design, the term "Tower" is used frequently throughout campus and is the name of the school yearbook. Work on the building began in 1906 and continued on and off until classes began in it on October 3, 1910. The architect of record for the Maryville building is John H. Felt. On March 15, 1919, a tornado ripped the roof off its auditorium and blew out most of its windows.[11]

1979 fire

On July 24, 1979, a fire destroyed 60 percent of the building on the central and west wing as well as the north wing housing the auditorium and Little Theater. Many thought the building was going to be razed, However the east wing survived with relatively little damage.[11]

A $13.8 million capital program repaired most of the building and made extensive changes to the campus layout. The building ceased to serve as classroom space, with the exception of 3rd floor, which houses the Family and Consumer Sciences Department. The theater and music departments moved out of the building to what is now the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts, located southeast of Bearcat Stadium. The north wing of the Administration Building was torn down and sealed, although the outline of the wing is still visible against the bricks on the north. The former Wells Library (now Wells Hall) was turned into a classroom area and home for the National Public Radio affiliate radio station KXCV-FM and the library was moved to its current location in the new B.D. Owens Library. All the academic files were burned and lost with no backups prior to the fire.[11]


Main article: Northwest Missouri State Bearcats

Football championship trophy room at Bearcat Stadium. The two trophies in the middle are national championships in 1998 and 1999. The stick in the middle left is the Hickory Stick in the contests with Truman State.

Northwest was a founding member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 1912 and has remained in the conference ever since. From its founding until 1937 it competed in the Amateur Athletic Union. From 1937 to 1957 it competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. In 1957 it joined NCAA Division II. Northwest has appeared in ten Division II football title games (winning six) since 1998. The men's basketball team appeared in an AAU title game in 1930. The men's basketball team won the Division II title for the 2016–17 season and 2018-19 season.

The Bearcats have won six NCAA Division II football national championships (1998, 1999, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2016) and finished four times as runner-up (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008).[12] The Northwest Bearcats cheerleading squad have won three (2010, 2012, and 2013) Universal Cheerleaders Association Division II National Champions.[13] The Northwest Bearcat Men's Basketball team has won four national championships (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022) in the span of five tournaments.[14] With the 2016 football championship and the 2017 basketball championship, Northwest became the first Division II program to win titles football and men’s basketball in the same school year. The titles were the first by a Division I or II program since the Division I Florida Gators in 2006-07.[15]

Student organizations

Student organizations encompass activities and interests that include Academic (such as an Association for Computing Machinery chapter),[16] Greek fraternities and sororities, Political (such as the College Republicans or the Young Democrats),[17] Honorary (such as the Blue Key Honor Society and Mortar Board),[18] Multicultural (with groups such as the Alliance of Black Collegians, the Asian Student Association, the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, and the Indian Student Association),[19] Performing (such as the American Choral Directors Association),[20] Religious (such as Campus Crusade for Christ),[21] Residential Life (with student governing bodies for the residential halls),[22] Sports (with clubs for cheerleading, fencing, rugby, soccer, wrestling and equestrian sports),[23] and dozens more.[24]

Sororities at the university include[25]

(Alpha Omicron Pi and Delta Zeta are no longer on the Northwest campus.)

There are 8 IFC fraternities.[25]

(Phi Lambda Chi-late 1950s, Kappa Sigma-1996 and Phi Delta Theta-2003 Delta Chi-2015 are no longer on the Northwest campus.)

Notable alumni

Bearcat Stadium
International Walk

Among Northwest's alumni are Jean Bartik, one of the original programmers for the ENIAC computer and a member of the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame.



See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2017. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY2016 to FY2017" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "College Navigator - Northwest Missouri State University". Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  3. ^ Northwest Missouri State University Institutional Graphic Standards (PDF). Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  4. ^ "Northwest Facts | Northwest". Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Northwest Missouri State University. "Missouri Arboretum".
  6. ^ "Men and Women of the Greatest Generation" (PDF). Navyleague Councils Support. 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  7. ^ "ST. Louis Post-Dispatch Newspaper Archives".
  8. ^ Northwest Missouri State University. "About Us". Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  9. ^ "Rediscovering WWII's female 'computers'". CNN. February 8, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011. Back in Missouri, Bartik's alma mater became the first public U.S. college to install computer terminals, telephones and cable TV in every dorm room. By the late 1980s, more than 6,000 students there were communicating by e-mail and reading stories from the student newspaper on computer screens.
  10. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  11. ^ a b c d Jason Williamson (May 2010). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Administration Building" (PDF). Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved January 1, 2017. (includes photographs)
  12. ^ "National Champions". Retrieved March 16, 2010.
  13. ^ "Northwest cheerleading wins 2nd national title in three years". St. Joseph Post newspaper website. January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
  14. ^ "Northwest Missouri State wins third-straight national championship |". Retrieved July 12, 2022.
  15. ^ "Northwest Missouri wins Division II men's basketball, football titles in same school year". March 25, 2017.
  16. ^ "Academic and Departmental Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  17. ^ "Government and Political Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "Honorary Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  19. ^ "Academic and Departmental Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on January 29, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  20. ^ "Performing Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  21. ^ "Religious Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  22. ^ "Residential Life Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  23. ^ "Sport Clubs". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  24. ^ "Special Interest Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on September 21, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  25. ^ a b "Greek Organizations". Northwest Missouri State University. Archived from the original on November 27, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2011.
  26. ^ "Bill Siebert". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  27. ^ "About the Governor". Office of the Governor of Iowa. June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  28. ^ "Jack D. McCracken". Basketball Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved February 9, 2011.