Little-Known Facts about Mizzou

A new school year is upon us, and I would like to take this opportunity to be the first newspaper columnist to warmly welcome you back to good ol' Mizzou. Welcome back, student! I hope your summer of hard work/travel/study/serial killing treated you well and that you are ready to get back to your studies/excessive alcohol abuse. This welcome back message brought to you by the MU Student News; the only student newspaper that has an opinions columnist welcoming you back to MU. Now I realize that some of you are not coming back, but rather are just arriving. You are called freshmen or transfers. I would also like to welcome you to MU, but I won't because it would be social suicide. No offense, buddy. So instead of welcoming you, I will tell you some of the quirky traditions and some of the quirky history of this quirky place. Pay attention, upperclassmen. You might learn something too. Quirky quirky quirky quirky quirky.

Like many other universities, MU has developed many legends and traditions throughout its long, illustrious existence. From calling and responding M-I-Z, Z-O-U at football games to talking in hushed tones under the Memorial Union arch to severely beating all freshmen with wooden paddles in the quad on St. Patrick's Day, there are some MU traditions that will just never be broken.

When you walk out onto the Francis Quadrangle for the first time, you will notice two distinct structures which may make you scratch your head and say, "What in the living hell is keeping those columns up?" These structures are the statue of Thomas Jefferson, and, of course, the famous MU Columns. Understandably, many students do not fully understand Thomas Jefferson's connection to the University, as Missouri was not a state when Jefferson was President, nor is there any evidence that Jefferson ever visited the state-to-be, let alone ever crossed the Mississippi river. Yet his tombstone sits alongside the quad, along with the statue. Why? Jefferson's actual connection to the University has to do with the famous landmark from which he sits across: the columns. Yes, it was the ghost of Thomas Jefferson who set the fire ablaze to the old admissions office in 1868. At first, the administration was furious that they had put the gravestone so close to the admissions building, and as they sat around wondering how it got there in the first place, they found a connection to Thomas Jefferson and engineering somehow. Then they threw four-leaf clovers at everyone. That is why the engineers have a clover on the west side of the quad. Also, as everyone knows, all engineers are Irish.

History aside, there are many student-created legends and traditions that have developed themselves over time. For example, everyone knows that if you kiss someone on the bridge in Peace Park on your first date, you are destined to be married. However, you probably didn't know that if you fall off the bridge into the river during the kiss, you are destined to star in a hilarious mad-cap Jim Carrey comedy. And perhaps one of the most famous of all, everybody knows that when you rub Francis' nose in the quad, you will have good luck on an exam. But did you know that if you rub his ass, you will get into MU's law school?

Also appeared in August 29 edition of MU Student News