As the start of the 20th century raged on, growth and changes continued in Cape Girardeau, too. As the world neared a world war and technology started to shift, the Southeast Missouri Normal School saw some of the people and traditions form that still stand today.

Changes Made

As of 1910, students enrolled were required to pass a gym class during their first two years at school in order to continue their studies. The school started offering credit through correspondence or attendance at monthly meetings through an extension center. Several new aspects to the University were founded in this decade including the very first issue of the student newspaper (Capaha Arrow) in February of 1911, the first intercollegiate debate in 1911, and the founding of the 14-team Missouri Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1912.

During the year 1913, Normal School purchased Albert and Leming residence halls located on the south side of Normal Avenue. The school previously leased them from the Normal Dormitory Association.

In 1914, it was declared that students were required to have a high school diploma in order to be enrolled. That same year, the school started publishing a yearly Sagamore yearbook. 

In 1915, the Normal School piloted a textbook rental system. The next year, they made that system a permanent fixture. 

A World at War

As the nation continued involvement in World War I, formal military training for men began on campus. In 1918, the first members of the Student Army Training Corps took an oath of allegiance. 

Shortly after that, the Normal School closed due to an influenza epidemic. The city health board made the decision to cancel all classes while the nation fought the deadly flu. The school reopened the next month after the closure did little to slow the epidemic. 

Historic Art Comes To Campus

The Third District Normal School received a donation of Mound Builder artifacts from Col. Thomas Beckwith of Charleston, Missouri in 1915. The pieces include ceramic vessels and lithics. They were excavated at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries from mounds on his property in southeast Missouri and provided insights into the culture and lives of prehistoric Native peoples of this region. Today, the collection is housed in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum at the River Campus.

Names We Still Know

in 1910, Sadie Kent officially accepted the position as a full-time librarian with the Southeast Normal School. Yes, that is the same Sadie Kent whose name graces Kent Library to this day. 

In 1911, the very first name was chalked in the Academic Hall dome. Students still use this as a tradition to leave a mark on campus. 

As the end of this decade drew near, the biggest change occurred. Southeast Missouri Normal School officially became the Southeast Missouri State Teachers College, agreed on by the Legislature. The name took another step towards what it is known as today. At this time, the school was officially authorized to grant degrees. 



What's Happening from 1910-1919?

  • 1910 - Boy Scouts of America is founded
  • 1911 - Chevrolet Motor Co. is started in Detroit, Michigan 
  • 1912 -  RMS Titanic sinks
  • 1914 - World War I begins
  • 1914 - Panama Canal opens
  • 1917 - The National Hockey League (NHL) is formed
  • 1918 - Armistice of November 11 ends World War I
  • 1919 - Scientists discover the proton

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