MU plans to place four new traditions plaques

The four plaques will cover places with interesting histories.
The Alumni Association Student Board will install four new plaques, such as the one near the engineering shamrock, pictured. The plaques will educate students and visitors on MU history and traditions.

The Alumni Association Student Board will install four new traditions plaques on campus this summer.

The plaques will be similar to the one in front of the engineering shamrock and will be installed at Speakers Circle, Stankowski Field, Francis Quadrangle and the chancellor's residence.

"The goal of the plaques is to educate students, alumni and visitors about the rich history and tradition on our campus," said David Thiessen, Alumni Association Student Board vice president of traditions and former Maneater staff member. "They are not necessarily commemorating an event but rather preserving the traditions."

The Student Fee Capital Improvement Committee approved and gave full funding for Thiessen's request for $2,200 to build the traditions plaques earlier this month.

"We funded the traditions plaques because the committee believes that the rich traditions of this university should be displayed to everyone, students, faculty, parents and visitors," SFCIC Chairman Bryan VanGronigen said. "It is a capital improvement that will stay with the university for many years to come and while there is no concrete number of students that will benefit or be impacted by these plaques, the committee thought that they were a good use of student fee money."

Each plaque will cost $505 to create and install. Thiessen said he hopes the plaques will be installed before fall 2009.

"The plaques are installed and maintained by the Campus Facilities," Thiessen said. "We are hoping to install them over the summer when less people are around campus."

Former Alumni Association Student Board President Matt Witthaus was one of the students who chose the location of each of the new traditions plaques. Witthaus said the student board wanted to tell the story behind each of the locations chosen.

"One of the locations for our traditions plaques is the chancellor's residence on Francis Quadrangle," Witthaus said. "We thought this was a place very few students knew very much about. Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mark Twain have all stayed there."

Witthaus said decisions on where to install the traditions plaques were also based on the number of students who would view the subject of the plaque.

"The columns and Francis Quadrangle is certainly one of MU's most well known areas and the columns show the history of dedication the city of Columbia has shown for education," Witthaus said. "When the academic hall burnt down, Columbia fought to keep MU and the columns serve as a reminder of that people see everyday."

Thiessen said the Alumni Association Student Board is working with MU Archives to make sure their facts are correct.

"Although we've wrote down what we want these plaques to say, the wording hasn't been set in stone -- or should I say bronze -- and still needs to be verified with the MU archives and looked over for grammatical accuracy," Thiessen said.

The Alumni Association installed the first traditions plaques during the 2002-2003 academic year. The association installed the second set of plaques during the 2003-2004 academic year.

"The plaques the student board is putting in now cover some of the locations on campus with a lot of tradition that the first plaques we put in didn't cover," Alumni Association Executive Director Todd McCubbin said.

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