Browse Exhibits (14 total)

Homecoming at Central Methodist University


The tradition of a college or university homecoming appears to have its roots in college football. The University of Missouri claims to have had the first homecoming game in 1911, with athletic director Chester Brewer calling on Missouri alumni to "come home" to a game played against their longtime rival, the University of Kansas. This event was accompanied by a parade, a bonfire, and a dance.

By 1920, Central was listing one of its fall home football games as a "Homecoming" in its student newspaper, the Collegian, and football games were attended along with the election of a "Homecoming court" including king and queen, parades, dances, and performances by Central's music program. Other traditions, such as Band Day, came out of Central's Homecoming practices.

While the 2020 Homecoming Day celebration has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during the last years of World War II-- 1943 to 1945-- Homecoming was effectively cancelled, as Central's football program was suspended, along the football programs of many neighboring colleges.

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Morrison Observatory


An exploration into the history of Central Methodist University's Morrison Observatory.  Constructed in 1875, the Observatory occupies a unique and interesting place in the history of both Howard County, Missouri as well as Central Methodist University.

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Service Day

ARC14 Democrat-Leader v141 no22 20150411 p1 crop.pdf

Founded in 2008 as Leadership and Service Day, CMU Service Day is an affirmation of Central Methodist University's commitment to social responsiblity and ethical leadership.


Stedman Hall of Science


Photos, documents, and other information on the largest classroom building on Central Methodist University's Fayette campus.  This retrospective was created in honor of Stedman's 2017 renovation, 54 years after its dedication in 1963.

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The Lillian Kappelmann Collection


Lillian Kappelmann was a graduate of Howard-Payne College's Conservatory of Music.  A piano virtuoso, she studied with N. Louise Wright, Dean of the Conservatory.  At the time,Howard-Payne College was all-female. Seven years later, it would merge with the nearby all-male Central College, to recreate Central College as a coed institution.

The following materials were generously donated to Central Methodist University's Archives and Special Collections by her surviving family.  They provide a fascinating and detailed look into what life as a music student entailed, over a hundred years ago.

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A Brief History of Racial Integration at Central Methodist University


When Central Methodist University was established as Central College in 1854, no rule in its charter prohibited the admission of African Americans.  However, at that time, the enslavement of African Americans in the United States was in full force. The American Civil War had not yet begun, and those African Americans who were free lived as second-class citizens. 

Furthermore, Central College was established by the Missouri conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South—a branch of Methodism that embraced the practice of slavery, contrary to founder John Wesley’s teachings.  So while no written rule prohibited the entry of African Americans as students or faculty, an unspoken cultural rule did.

This unspoken rule remained in effect until the 1950s, when the tide of white Americans' public opinion was beginning to turn in favor of integration—of African Americans entering spaces considered “white” by either law or culture.  The petition that circulated among Central’s students and faculty, while undated, probably dates to around 1950-1951.  In 1953, the first African-American students began to attend classes, and the first African American graduate walked with the class of 1957.

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The Navy V-12 Program at Central Methodist University


Faced with a shrinking student body as college-aged American men joined the war effort, Central Methodist University (then Central College) opened its doors and classrooms to training sailors, navigators, and engineers in a Navy V-12 unit.

In doing so, Central bolstered its enrollment numbers as well as contributed sailors to the war front.


Band Day: A Central Methodist University Tradition


Founded in 1964, Band Day was originally a part of Central Methodist University (then Central Methodist College)'s Homecoming festivities. High school and middle school bands from the central Missouri area were invited to compete during Homecoming half-time.

Over the next half-century, Band Day has evolved into an event and celebration in its own right, attracting hundreds of students all over the state-- students who, in many cases, become Central Methodist alumni.


Cupples Hall and Smiley Memorial Library


Constructed in 1899 as a men’s dormitory (Central College at that time was all-male), Cupples Hall was named after Samuel Cupples, a member of the College’s first Board of Trustees.

The building would be renovated and converted to the campus Library in 1928 (the previous library had been in T. Berry Smith Hall, which at the time was called Science Hall).

Most of this exhibit was built, written, and researched by Heran Gietu (class of 2022).

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Clingenpeel Hall


Clingenpeel Gymnasium was built in 1906, to house a burgoening champion basketball team? Central had had previous gymnasiums, but those had been relatively temporary wooden structures. The "new gymnasium" was brick and stone, with a hardwood floor and a track along the inside. The entire process took a year and cost $14,000 to build (over $393,000 today)-- and went $3000 over budget.

In 1961, the Gymnasium was remodeled following a fire, to include classroom spaces, a rifle and archery range, and a dance studio. It went through further renovations in 1988 and 1999.