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Ellis Old and New

1972 photo of Elmer and Ruth Ellis looking at the new dedication plaque for Elmer Ellis Library

October 10, 1972: Elmer and Ruth Ellis stand in the first floor colonnade, looking at the dedication plaque designating the building as "Elmer Ellis Library."

About Elmer Ellis

In 1972, the University of Missouri Library was named after the thirteenth president of the University of Missouri, Elmer Ellis (1901-1989).

Headshot of Elmer Ellis, first UM System President and namesake of Ellis LibraryDr. Ellis joined MU's History Department faculty in 1930. He was Dean of Arts and Science when he was tapped as Acting President in 1954; his appointment was made permanent in 1955.

Under his leadership the University became a four-campus institution and the main campus in Columbia officially became known as the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ellis became president of the administrative arm of this new organization, named the University of Missouri System, from 1963 until his retirement in 1966.

According to the building dedication press release, Dr. Ellis was also credited with a period of great library collection growth, to over one million volumes. The nuclear research reactor was built and a space research program initiated during his tenure. With then-Governor Phil M. Donnelly, Ellis led a state capital bond issue of $75 million.

Elmer Ellis in Ellis Library: A Sample of Ellis' Publications and Donated Collections