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Sept. 16, 2010 Volume 32, No. 4

All roads now lead to Tiger Avenue

Tiger sign


Campus gateway gets MU-friendly name

For at least a century, the road that leads from Memorial Stadium to the west wing of Jesse Hall, in the heart of the University of Missouri campus, has carried the name of another state.

That long run will come to an end this week, when Maryland Avenue officially becomes Tiger Avenue.

The name change, which will be celebrated Friday at a 3 p.m. ceremony in front of the Reynolds Alumni Center, is largely due to a group of about 30 former Mizzou Alumni Association presidents known as The Pride, whose members represent more than a half-century of Tiger history. 

Jay Dade, BJ ‘85, JD ’93, was “facilitator” of The Pride in September 2008, when campus leaders asked the group to explore the possibility of changing the name of Maryland Avenue. Dade said two Pride members, Melody Powell and Doug Crews, researched the history of the street, which at one point was a short strip of road leading to a nine-hole golf course that backed up to Stadium Boulevard. Working with University Archives, the State Historical Society of Missouri and the City of Columbia, Powell and Crews determined the street’s name had no connection to any former MU students, faculty or staff members. 

“That was important,” Dade said. “As a group, tradition, particularly campus tradition, is very important to us.”

Pride members then began holding a series of conference calls to brainstorm possible new names. They solicited suggestions from the alumni association’s governing and student boards before settling on five options, including Tiger Avenue. In May 2009, Dade sent a memo to the office of MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, recommending that the university begin working with property owners and the City of Columbia to change the name.

That process was finally completed Sept. 7, when the Columbia City Council voted unanimously in favor of the renaming.

“We thought it was important to recognize that Maryland Avenue was and is becoming a very important gateway to the campus,” Dade said. “It links the academic heart of the campus at Jesse Hall with our athletic fields — two great traditions of our university.”

Todd McCubbin is vice chancellor for alumni relations and executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association, whose members recently covered the cost for the new black-and-gold street signs on campus. McCubbin described The Pride as a “dedicated, loyal group of remarkable volunteers” who want the best for MU. 

“When alumni and prospective students come to campus, often they use the street to access the Reynolds Alumni Center or Jesse Hall,” McCubbin said. “We can’t wait to give directions to the Alumni Center by saying, ‘Turn right on Tiger Avenue.’”

Dade, a St. Louis attorney, described the Tiger Avenue renaming as The Pride’s “first major project” on behalf of MU. He’ll be out of town and unable to attend Friday’s renaming ceremony, but he and the other members will be there in — what else — spirit.

“We were very pleased to even be a part of this project,” he said. “To see it get it to this point gives us a very nice feeling.”