UCM Founders Day picnic


Click to print this page

Founders Week

The University of Central Missouri is one of the oldest universities in the state. Each year we celebrate our rich history by remembering how it all started back in 1871!

Foster Ward School

The Foster Ward School building (pictured above) was the first home of Normal School No. 2


Following the Civil War, there was rapid educational progress in the state. It quickly became apparent that there was a need for qualified teachers. Without the dedicated work of educators, the state of Missouri would not have the foundation it needed to become a prosperous, distinctive and dynamic state. Plans were made so counties and cities could enter bids of money, land and buildings for the location of a Normal School, which is an institution created to train teachers. The chief contest for the location was between Sedalia and Warrensburg. Pettis County had raised $75,000 toward establishing the school in Sedalia, and the Missouri Board of Regents originally awarded the Normal School to them. This decision was met with indignation and renewed protest by the citizens of Johnson County and of Warrensburg. After the Board had made its decision, Johnson County telegraphed a bid of $150,000 in county bonds, $110,000 from a private donation, and the gift of a 20-acre campus. On January 1, 1871, a newly appointed Board of Regents came into office and voted to suspend the offer to Sedalia. Finally, on April 26, 1871, the Board awarded the location of the Normal School to Warrensburg and made arrangements to immediately open the school. Official documents were signed and finalized early in the morning on April 27, which is why we celebrate our founding on April 27th annually. 

It is incredible to reflect that more than 150 years later, our university has transformed from a one-room rented building with a handful of students to a thriving institution in the heart of America with more than 12,000 students, 150 degree programs and 100,000 living alumni across the globe. Whether you know UCM as CMSU, CMSC, CMSTC or Normal School for District #2, we continue to uphold our timeless motto of "Education for Service."


Annual Signature Events

guests at birthday bash picnic

Students, faculty and staff are invited to celebrate UCM’s founding day each April with our annual Birthday Bash featuring events at both the Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit campuses! 

an evening of appreciation event

An Evening of Appreciation is also held annually during Founders Week. At this event UCM celebrates members of the Founders Society for their cumulative lifetime giving of $25,000 or more to the institution while also recognizing Founding Philanthropist honorees. 


  • facebook
  • twitter
  • youtube
  • linkedin
  • instagram