As the world hurdled into a new millennia and kicked off the 2000s, Southeast continued to grow and evolve. In this decade, the school would reach peak enrollment and erect new buildings and programs across campus.


Life on Campus

To start the new century and millennia, Southeast's student population sat just under 9,000 students, with residence halls near capacity. Southeast broke their enrollment record in September 2001 with a undergraduate and graduate headcount of 9,352. Eventually, total enrollment peaks in fall of 2006 with 10,477 students. 

In October of 2002, the first Southeast student starts a semester of online-only courses. Today, Southeast Online is an imperative part of our campus community, offering more than 50 fully-online programs.  In this decade, the number of Internet-connected computers on campus increases to 2,500 and email accounts increase to 7,500. All buildings on campus are connected to the fiber optic backbone and Internet by 2001. By 2002, students could access grades through Southeast Online Services. 

Various buildings and programs continued to make their entrance onto campus, too. In October of 2004, dedication ceremonies were held for the Charles L. Hutson Horticulture Greenhouse, built just went of the new softball fields at Bertling and Sprigg. A ribbon cutting was held on September 1, 2005 for the Southeast Missouri Innovation Center and business incubator, located in the education building of the former First Baptist Church Complex. Two years later, the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center officially opens in the church property. 

In 2009, a new five-story, 300-bed residence hall opens on the corner of Henderson and Broadway. Later on, this would become Merick Hall. 

Athletic Milestones

A number of athletic milestones happened throughout the first decades of the 2000s:

  • In March of 2000, Southeast's men's basketball team won the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, earning the school's first ever automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament
  • A brand new tennis complex is completed om the northwest corner of Bertling and Sprigg
  • In 2001, Southeast women's soccer wins the OVC Championship and finishes with a record 13 shutouts
  • In 2002, Southeast inducted its first class into the Athletics Hall of Fame
  • The women's outdoor track team claims an Ohio Valley Conference championship in May of 2003
  • Basketball offices are completed in 2003 on the north side of the Show Me Center
  • Southeast closes its men's golf program in 2005
  • In 2005, the men's cross country team was honored as an All-Academic Team with Distinction by the U.S. Cross Country Coaches Association
  • Miles Smith became the school's first track and field All-American since 1994, winning the OVC indoor and outdoor 400-meter championships
  • The men and women both won the OVC Track and Field Championships in 2005
  • The women's basketball team earned its first trip to the NCAA Division I Tournament with an OVC championship in 2006. The women's soccer team did the same in their own sport the same year
  • In 2006, the gymnastics team earns a berth in the NCAA regionals
  • The Southeast Missouri Gymnastics Team is named the Academic National Champions as voted on by The National Association of Collegiate Gymnastics Coaches/Women (NACGC/W). Southeast earned the win with a remarkable team G.P.A. of 3.74 in 2007

River Campus

Work on plans for a brand new River Campus continued. 

On May 27, 2003, Southeast holds a groundbreaking ceremony for the River Campus, which would eventually become home to the University's School of Visual and Performing Arts. The campus was planned on a 16.6-acre St. Vincent's College and Seminary property on the banks of the Mississippi River. 

Aug. 20, 2007 featured the very first classes on the River Campus. 

Famous Beech Tree

In May of 2002, Southeast was awarded recognition by the Missouri Department of Conservation for its state champion beech tree, located on the grounds of the River Campus. The beech tree was the largest tree of its species in the State of Missouri as recorded by the Forestry Division. The beech tree contracted a disease that caused it to be removed in 2023, but the SEMO community made sure it went out in proper style, celebrating its history. 

Officially Redhawks

President Ken Dobbins formed a committee in 2003 to determine whether the school should replace the Indian mascot.

In 2004, the Southeast Board of Regents votes to retire the Indians/Otahkians nicknames and mascots. Instead, the school officially adopts the Redhawk nickname, going into effect in spring of 2005. 

Rowdy the Redhawk was officially introduced at a Show Me Center basketball game on Jan. 22, 2005. 

What's Happening 2000-2009

  • 2000 - Sony's PlayStation 2 released in North America
  • 2000 - George W.  Bush is elected president of the United States
  • 2000 - The first long-term residents of the International Space Station arrive
  • 2001 - Steve Jobs introduces the first iPod
  • 2002 - Tom Brady leads the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl win
  • 2002 - Mozilla Firefox is released
  • 2002 - Elon Musk founds SpaceX
  • 2003 - The last Volkswagen Beetle is made in Mexico 
  • 2004 - Facebook is launched
  • 2004 - Spirit and Opportunity rovers land on Mars
  • 2005 - YouTube is founded
  • 2005 - Pope John Paul II dies. He is succeeded by Benedict XVI 
  • 2005 - Hurrican Katrina emerged from the Gulf of Mexico, killing 1,836 people in New Orleans and surrounding areas
  • 2005 - Angela Merkel becomes Germany's first female Chancellor
  • 2006 - Google acquires YouTube for $1.65 billion
  • 2006 - Twitter is launched
  • 2006 - Nintendo launches the Wii
  • 2007 - A global recession begins
  • 2007 - The Virginia Tech school shooting leaves 32 dead and 17 wounded
  • 2007 - First iPhone is introduced
  • 2008 - Barack Obama is elected to become the first black president of the U.S. 
  • 2008 - Google Chrome is released
  • 2009 - Cryptocurrency Bitcoin is launched
  • 2009 - Musician Michael Jackson dies
  • 2009 - The swine flu pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza virus begins in North America

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