For decades, students have embarked on their Southeast journey at the Ice Cream Pig Out, making memories as their next chapter unfolds. They trek Cardiac Hill, visit the iconic Gum Tree, leave it all on the intramural field, sled Academic Terrace and chalk their name in the dome. They revel in S-E-M-O chants, join in the alma mater, bond with forever friends and move their commencement tassel.

Seasons come and go, and with them, four institutional name changes dot the history books. For 150 years, decades of go-getters have descended on SEMO, eager to seize new challenges. No matter the era, the memories made here -- the Welcome Back Picnic, Late Night Breakfast, Homecoming and Family Weekend -- remain nostalgic reminders of this special place called Southeast Missouri State University.

Southeast Seals

The institution has enjoyed four names since its founding: Southeast Missouri Normal School (1873), Southeast Missouri State Teachers’ College (1919), Southeast Missouri State College (1946) and Southeast Missouri State University (1972).

  • Cape Girardeau Normal School seal
  • Southeast Missouri State Teacher's College seal
  • the Southeast Missouri State College
  • southeast missouri state university seal

a line-up of all of Southeast's old logos from the very first to current


I graduated from high school in May and started college in June. They found a place for me to live on Bellevue Street with a nice couple, and I worked for my room and board. I walked to school every day and took my lunch. Back then, there were only a handful of buildings at Southeast. There were only about 500 people on the entire campus, and I knew just about every one of them. I loved the library. It was one of my favorite places. I had such a good time at Southeast. I have lots of wonderful memories of eating lunch with my friends every day and having fun.

Ella Ruth Fletcher, Sikeston, Missouri, native and formerly of Kansas City, Missouri, was a 1930 graduate, reflecting on her experiences at Southeast Missouri State Teacher's College

There were a lot of mixers, plays, dances, every weekend. A lot of my friends met their husbands at all the social events. There were a lot more of us girls on campus than there were the young men, although there were a few. Enough to keep my dance card full.” Her daughter, Marcia Tanis, also a Southeast graduate, said the University “is a tradition in our family. Things may change over the years, but Southeast stays with us.

Eloise Suenkel Sturkey, 1941 graduate, reflecting on her years at Southeast prior to her passing in 2019