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Thomas Jefferson Statue at the University of Missouri

Primary sources, scholarship, news reporting, and views from the MU community regarding Thomas Jefferson and the Jefferson statue on Francis Quadrangle

Jefferson's Influence on the University of Missouri

In 1839, more than 12 years after Jefferson's death, the Missouri State Legislature passed the Geyer Act, which established both the public school system for the state of Missouri and the University of Missouri, the first land-grant university west of the Mississippi. Legislators based the Geyer Act on legislation crafted by Jefferson that established Virginia's education system, including the University of Virginia (or UVA).

MU's School of Medicine, founded in 1873, modeled its plan of instruction and length of session on UVA's medical school, and several of the University of Missouri's early leaders, including Benjamin Blake Minor (MU President, 1860-1862), Charles E. Waite (Director, MU College of Mines, 1877-1888), and Richard Henry Jesse (MU President, 1891-1908), attended UVA.

Jefferson's Grave Monument

In 1883, Jefferson's descendants donated his grave monument to the University of Missouri. The stone obelisk bears an epitaph written by Jefferson himself, noting what he believed to be his three greatest achievements:

Here was buried
Thomas Jefferson
Author of the Declaration of American Independence
of the Statue of Virginia for religious freedom
& father of the University of Virginia

The marker currently stands on the east side of Francis Quadrangle, south of the Jefferson statue.