UMC was founded in 1839 as part of the Geyer Act to establish a state university, the
first west of the Mississippi River. During the American Civil War, supporters of the Union wanted to move the campus
to a "more loyal" area. Tensions forced the university to close its doors for parts of 1862.The original tombstone of Thomas Jefferson resides on the MU campus. Jefferson's heirs gave it to the campus in July 1883 because it was the first state university in the Louisiana Purchase territory.Women were first admitted to the university in 1867, but only to the teachers' school.
They were granted full admission in 1871.On January 9, 1892, the school's main
academic building, simply called Academic Hall, burned to the ground, leaving little more than six stone columns standing. The
columns, which still stand today, became a symbol of the campus and form the center of Francis Quadrangle, the oldest part of
campus. This section, where the buildings are built of red brick, are known as "red campus." East of the quadrangle, many
buildings were built in 1913 and 1914 of white
limestone. This section is known as "white campus."