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Sept. 11, 2014 Volume 36, No. 3

Business and university leaders celebrate the 175-year relationship between MU and Columbia

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Joining Chancellor Loftin on stage were Mini Mizzou, cheerleaders and Truman the Tiger. The group led the crowd in the Missouri fight song at the end of the event. Photo by Rob Hill.

Chancellor Loftin thanks Columbians and friends at Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Town and Gown

The membership breakfast of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 4 roared to order with a truck, a tiger and a squeal.

Heather Hargrove, chair of the commerce’s board of directors, arrived on stage with help from Truman the Tiger and Truman’s Taxi, a 1954 fire truck painted black and gold that awoke the sleepy-eyed breakfast crowd as it rolled by, siren blasting.

As the event’s gold sponsor, the University of Missouri held a prominent spot in the proceedings. This included the audacious start to the popular networking event, held in the airplane-hangar-sized Expo Center of the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. Draped along walls were reminders of MU’s four key values (respect, responsibility, discovery, excellence) and its 175th anniversary this year. 

Hargrove gave chamber updates and prize giveaways, and introduced chamber membership committees and Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia), who spoke briefly about Missouri infrastructure problems.

Next, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, sporting his signature black-and-gold bow tie, talked about the donations given by Boone County residents in 1839 that laid the financial groundwork for the University of Missouri. Among the donors was Mary Kirtley Rogers. The family also donated funds after Academic Hall burned in 1892.

Seven generations of Rogers have studied at MU. Genie Rogers, who was in attendance, earned a bachelor’s at MU in 1967. Other descendants of founding families in attendance were Cindy Mustard, Ray Beck and Charlie Digges, who is 95 years old and also took part in MU's 100th, 125th and 150th anniversary celebrations.

During its history, MU has been tested with the Academic Hall fire, the divisions and skirmishes during the Civil War, and more recently with reduced state funding, Loftin said. But the university has endured because of alumni and friends who have invested in higher education over the years.

Loftin also reiterated the university’s commitment to Columbia. “Mizzou would not be here without 175 years of enduring community support,” he said. “We are in this together. Mizzou and Columbia are inseparable.”

Joining Loftin and Hargrove on stage were Mini Mizzou, cheerleaders and Truman the Tiger. The group led the hundreds standing at their roundtables in the Missouri fight song. Singing, clapping, hand waving and the sharp sounds of brass capped off the event.

Below is the "Mizzou Legacy" video shown at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast.