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About Truman

History of Truman State University

September 2, 1867

Joseph Baldwin opened the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College.

December 29, 1870

Missouri's General Assembly made Baldwin's private college the First District Normal School, the first Missouri supported institution of higher education established for the primary purpose of preparing teachers for public schools.

Summer 1902

Basil Brewer wrote a school song which he named "The Purple and the White,"and the school adopted purple and white as the official colors.

Hall, before the fire in 1924


E.M. Violette, professor of history, saw the usefulness of visual aids in teaching and began collecting materials and artifacts representative of early life in northeast Missouri. A museum was built to house his collection and is now located in the Kirk Memorial basement and includes 20,000 catalogued items.


The Bulldog was adopted as the official school mascot.


The normal school became known as Northeast Missouri State Teachers College.

Baldwin Hall on fire in 1924


The old Baldwin Hall was destroyed by a fire. Before the fire, there was a lake where the Quad now sits. The lake was emptied to combat the fire, resulting in the Quad as we know it today.


The Bell Wall was built and dedicated at the Centennial Celebration in 1967.The bells were donated by Joe Burdman, local businessman and University benefactor.


Programs other than teacher education were implemented and the Board of Regents acted to change the name of the college to Northeast Missouri State College.


The College's name was changed to Northeast Missouri State University.


Gail Albright, retired assistant professor of speech, wrote the Truman fight song, "Hail to the Bulldogs!"


The University is awarded the prestigious G. Theodore Mitau Award for Innovation and Change in Higher Education by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.


On June 20, Gov. John Ashcroft, signed legislation that designated the University as Missouri's only statewide public liberal arts and sciences university, expanding its mission from a regional to a statewide institution.


On June 15, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the mission change to a statewide university, Gov. Mel Carnahan signed legislation that changed the University's name from Northeast Missouri State University to Truman State University, giving the University a name that complements its statewide mission and honors the only Missourian to serve as the President of the United States.


The new name, Truman State University, becomes official on July 1, 1996.


More than 5,800 students come to Truman annually to gain a high quality liberal arts education at an affordable cost. Truman now offers 49 undergraduate and 6 graduate areas of study. In 2005, 50.4 percent of Truman's graduates entered graduate or professional schools while 48.2 percent were employed. Commitment, uniqueness of purpose, and concentration on student learning have brought Truman to its present mission. Designed to bring a new sense of coherence to each student's educational experience, and to impart the qualities of mind and spirit which distinguish educated persons, the programs and environment of the University are the latest examples in Truman's history of creative, responsive, and innovative planning.

Presidents of the University

Joseph Baldwin 1867-1881
William P. Nason 1881-1882
Joseph Blanton 1882-1891
William D. Dobson 1891-1899
John R. Kirk 1899-1925
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
Barbara Dixon 2003-2008
Darrell W. Krueger 2008-2010
Troy D. Paino 2010-