Puneet Varma (Editor)

Southeast Missouri State University

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Academic staff

Total enrollment
11,729 (2012)

Rowdy the Redhawk


Carlos Vargas-Aburto

11,987 (Fall 2016)

Acceptance rate
84.8% (2014)

1 University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701, USA

Undergraduate tuition and fees
Local tuition: 7,058 USD (2015), Domestic tuition: 12,450 USD (2015)


Southeast missouri state university move in day 2015

Southeast Missouri State University, is a public, accredited university located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, United States, near the banks of the Mississippi River. The institution, having started as a normal school, has a traditional strength in teacher education. The recent addition of the River Campus, housing the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, has increased the university's commitment to education in the arts. As a comprehensive institution, the institution offers over 200 areas of study, including undergraduate degrees as well as master's degrees and a cooperative Ed.D. program with the University of Missouri. Southeast Missouri State University was ranked 103rd in the Regional Universities Midwest category and 29th among top Midwestern Public Schools category for the 2017 U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.


Southeast missouri state university campus

Student body and diversity

In Fall 2012, the University had a record enrollment of over 11,000, making it the 8th largest university by enrollment in the state of Missouri and the 6th largest public university. In Fall 2013, a record class of over 1,700 freshman students entered the university: 93.1% of students were full-time, 6.9% were part-time. Female students make up between 57–60% of the student body. Minority enrollment included African-American (6%), Hispanic (1%), and Asian (1%).


Southeast Missouri State University has had five names in its history, each time attempting to better reflect its mission and identity:

Southeast Missouri State University was founded in 1873 when a group of prominent businessmen and politicians successfully lobbied the State of Missouri to designate Cape Girardeau as the home of the Third District Normal School. Originally known as Southeast Missouri State Normal School, the first classes were originally taught at the nearby Lorimier School until April 1875 when the first normal school building was completed.

The Normal building was described by Mark Twain in "Life on the Mississippi":

"There was another college higher up on an airy summit—a bright new edifice, picturesquely and peculiarly towered and pinnacled—a sort of gigantic casters, with the cruets all complete."

The Original Normal School Building burned down on April 8, 1902, and was replaced in 1906 by Academic Hall, the school's domed landmark building. It was designed by Jerome Bibb Legg, who also designed the St. Louis Exposition and Music Hall, and includes light fixtures from the 1904 World's Fair.

In the 1950s Southeast Missouri State College had an enrollment of approximately 1,600 students and steadily increased to more than 7,000 students in the 1970s due to low tuition costs, aggressive recruiting, and the construction of Interstate 55 between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. The College also moved away from its focus on only training teachers and began to offer courses of study in business, nursing, and the liberal arts. Due to this expansion of curriculum and student body population, the college officially became Southeast Missouri State University in 1972. The physical size of the campus also grew in this same period. In 1956, the institution had ten buildings on campus. By 1975, the number had increased to twenty-two buildings. In 1998, the university acquired the former St. Vincent's Seminary on the Mississippi river. This property has been redeveloped as the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, which opened in Fall 2007.

Missouri State Normal School—Third District President John Sephus McGhee established the University Schools on June 15, 1896. This allowed prospective teachers to gain real world teaching experience while earning their degrees. As the university expanded its curriculum and extra-curricular activities so did the University Schools. In 1903, as recent construction allowed for more space for university classes, the training school was able to expand its class sizes as well. The University Schools consisted of an elementary, junior high, and high school. The University Schools closed at the end of the 1986–1987 school year, due to increasing costs.

University presidents

  1. Lucius H. Cheney (1873–76)
  2. Alfred Kirk (1876–77)
  3. Charles Henry Dutcher (1877–81)
  4. Richard Chapman Norton (1881–93)
  5. Willard Duncan Vandiver (1893–97)
  6. John Sephus McGhee (1897–99)
  7. Washington Strother Dearmont (1899–1921)
  8. Joseph Archibald Serena (1921–33)
  9. Walter Winfield Parker (1933–56)
  10. Mark F. Scully (1956–75)
  11. Robert E. Leestamper (1975–79)
  12. Bill Stacy (1979–89)
  13. Robert W. Foster (1989–90)
  14. Kala Stroup (1990–95)
  15. Bill Atchley (1995–96)
  16. Dale F. Nitzschke (1996–99)
  17. Kenneth W. Dobbins (1999–2015)
  18. Carlos Vargas-Aburto (2015–present)


The Normal School Building was completed in 1875, on the site of the current Academic Hall. Initially it was the only school building and housed classrooms, offices, and storage. Normal School Building was 3 stories tall, built of brick in the French Second Empire style, and was designed by Charles B. Clark of St. Louis. Just as construction was beginning on what would become Carnahan Hall in 1902, the school building burned down, at which time Academic Hall was erected in its place.

Carnahan Hall was initially built as the Science Building, and was later changed to become the Social Science Building. It is built in the Neoclassical Style and was completed in 1902 by Jerome B. Legg, who also designed Academic Hall. It is the oldest standing building on Campus and underwent a major Renovation between 1994 and 1998. During the renovation the entire interior was removed from the masonry shell, and rebuilt with state-of-the-art technology without diminishing the historic fabric of the building's exterior. Upon completion of the project, the building was rededicated Carnahan Hall in honor of Congressman and Ambassador Carnahan of Carter, MO. Today Carnahan Hall houses the College of Liberal Arts.

The Foreign Language Building, also known as the Art Building, was built in 1902 by the same designer of Academic Hall and Carnahan Hall. Built as the companion to Carnahan Hall, it is identical to Carnahan Hall except for the pair of small towers that were added later for dramatic effect. The Art Building currently houses the Language and Anthropology Departments of the College of Liberal Arts. It is campus legend that Carnahan Hall and Art Building are finished on the north-facing sides with red brick because at the time of their construction, there were no campus buildings to the north and red brick was much cheaper to use for a side of a building that nobody thought would be seen.

Albert and Lemming Halls were completed in 1904 and 1905 respectively, and were built to meet the growing demand for student housing close to campus. Albert Hall was an all-male dorm, and Lemming an all-female. At the time of completion these were the only dormitories on campus, and previously students had to rent housing or live with families in the town some distance from campus. No longer standing, these three-story dorms were built of limestone in the neoclassical style, Albert Hall located where Dearmont Hall now stands, and Lemming on the site of the University Center. These halls were named for members of the University Board of Regents, who were instrumental in expanding the campus at the time.

Serena Hall was built in 1905 and named for Joseph Serena, the eighth President of the University. Originally it was the School of Manual Training, and was the home of the Industrial Technology Department until the completion of Seabaugh Hall. Today it houses the Southeast Missouri Public Radio Studio, as well as numerous classrooms, workshops, and photography and drafting Studios. The East and West wings were built in 1962 and 1983 respectively, and were intentionally designed to contrast with the neoclassical style of the main building.

Wildwood is the President's house, and was built in 1923 upon the foundations of a winery that was already standing on the site. It has served as the University presidents house ever since, and has been updated, remodeled, and undergone major repairs several times over its lifetime

Houck Field House was built in 1927 to house the Physical Education Department. The field house contained locker rooms, an indoor basketball and gymnastics stadium, as well as offices. The original Field House was destroyed in a fire in 1948, and was subsequently rebuilt and expanded in 1951 as the main locker room, basketball stadium, and home of the SEMO Athletics Department. Houck Field House and Houck Stadium are named for Louis Houck, an important and longtime member of the Board of Regents and local railroad entrepreneur.

Houck Stadium was built in 1930, and is one of the oldest stadiums in Missouri. It's been renovated and updated numerous times, and currently holds 10,000 spectators. It is built of native limestone quarried from the building site. It is the home venue for SEMO football and soccer.

Academic Hall is the second oldest standing building on campus, and is the administrative center of the college. Built between 1903 and 1906 of locally quarried limestone, it was designed by Jerome B. Legg of St. Louis in the neoclassical style on a monumental scale, capped with a massive copper sheathed dome. Today it houses the administrative offices of the school such as the Registrar, Financial Services, the Office of the President and the Office of Admissions. It also houses the communication department and classrooms primarily used by speech and public speaking classes.

Kent Library, built in 1939 as a WPA project, houses the school's library, archives, rare book room, Center for William Faulkner Studies, Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning, and an open computer lab containing 97 computers. The building originally was constructed in a limestone neoclassical style with wide art glass windows to fit in with the existing campus, however Kent Library underwent a major renovation between 1965 and 1968 that expanded the building considerably and wrapped the original structure in a modernist concrete screen. The library is named for Sadie Kent, a longtime librarian and faculty member at the school. The library houses an extensive collection of Faulkner materials in the Brodsky Collection, as well as the Center for Faulkner Studies.

Cheney Hall was built in 1939 as a WPA project along with Kent Library. Originally an academic building, it is now the oldest residence hall on campus, and was built in the neoclassical style to match the aesthetic of the rest of the campus. With the high demand for rooms in Cheney Hall, the rooms are reserved for returning students. The hall is named for the first President of the Normal School, Lucius H. Cheney.

Rosemary Berkel Crisp Hall of Nursing was built between 1921 and 1923 as the Training School. Built in the neoclassical style it was designed by Study & Farrar of St. Louis. In 1998 the U-shaped north side of the building was enclosed to house Dempster Auditorium. The Training School underwent a major renovation in 1987 and was rededicated in 1988 in honor of philanthropist, women's health activist, and long standing member of the Southeast Missouri State University foundation, Mrs. Rosemary Berkel Crisp. Crisp Hall currently houses the College of Health and Human Services and the Center for Health and Human Services that serves as a full-time student clinic on campus, operated under contract by SoutheastHealth.

Myers Hall is located between the University Center, Merick Hall, and Vandiver Hall. Completed in 1948 as an all-male dorm, it was remodeled in 1989, and renovated again 2001. Myers Hall is now a co-ed residence hall used by students staying for the summer term, and is geared towards upper-classmen and foreign students.

Memorial Hall was built in 1950 as a Student Union and Lounge. It was constructed of locally quarried limestone in the Prairie Style, and today houses the School of University Studies and Graduate Studies, as well as the Information Technology department and a Math Lab. It was the home of the School Museum until the Museum was moved to the new River Campus. Memorial Hall is named in recognition of the services given by citizens of Southeast Missouri in the Armed Forces of the United States.

The Power Plant was built in 1951. Originally intended to be behind the campus and surrounded by trees, the Power Plant has ended up at the heart of the University grounds as the campus has expanded. The plant supplies the school with electricity, hot water, radiant heat, and most of the chilled air for the air conditioned buildings. The concrete walls of the plant also contain several large billboards that are used by many school organizations to promote events. The power plant and surrounding area underwent a massive facelift during the 2014-2015 academic year, including resurfacing the concrete building to better match the adjacent buildings, an addition of a mural depicting the school's mascot, the Redhawk, and replacement of a large staircase by Brandt Hall.

Brandt Hall of Music was built in 1956. Originally intended as a science building, its purpose was switched to house the growing Music Department. It served this role until the recent addition of the River Campus that now houses all Performing Arts. Brandt now serves a number of roles, housing offices, classrooms, practice rooms, and is still the home of the SEMO Marching Band and the SEMO Music Academy. Brandt Hall is built into the side of a hill overlooking the Marching Band practice grounds and built in an airy, delicate modernist style with walls of windows.

Dearmont Hall was built in 1958 to replace the aging Albert Hall that stood on the site. Originally an all-female residence hall, it now has both male and female housing by floors, as well as housing Counseling and Disability Services. New in the fall of 2014, all rooms in Dearmont Hall are single occupancy, and geared more toward returning students. Dearmont Hall has its own private enclosed courtyard, and at one time had its own dining hall. The kitchen facilities are now used by the Hospitality Management program as a training lab.

Magill Hall of Science was built in 1958 and houses the Natural Science Departments. It is named for Dr. Arthur Clay Magill, long-time professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Science Department. Prior to the fall of 2013, Magill Hall of Science underwent a massive renovation which included an updated interior and classroom space, addition of a new wing with conference rooms, classroom space, and a computer lab, and upgraded lab equipment for chemistry, biology, and anatomy.

Parker Hall, or the Parker Athletic and Physical Education Complex, was built in 1960 and renovated in 1994. Named for Dr. Walter Parker, the ninth President of SEMO, it houses the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation. In the mid-1960s an addition with an indoor pool was added, but it became too difficult to maintain and the pool was removed from the building in 2002; a pool was brought back to campus in 2007 with the opening of the Student Aquatic Center. Parker Hall's gymnasium also houses practices for the gymnastics team.

B.F. Johnson Hall was built in 1962 and houses the Math Department as well as some larger science lecture classes. The Hall is named for B.F. Johnson, a former Chair of the Math Department.

The Grauel Building was built in 1966 as the English, Speech, and Theater building. Named for H.O. Grauel, a longtime English professor responsible for SEMO's journalism program, it now houses the English and Communication Disorders Departments as well as fully functioning Speech and Audiology Clinics. It also possesses the 500-seat Rose Theater.

Towers Residence Halls were built in the 1960s as the new main student housing. Consisting of a complex of 4 towers, they were remodeled and updated in the mid-1990s. Towers North (suite-style) and Towers East (community style) are reserved for incoming freshmen, with suite-style West and community style South primarily reserved for returners. The Towers Complex also houses a dining hall that serves as the primary dining hall on campus, an additional eatery called Rowdy's, the Office of Residence Life, offices for IT, Academic Support Centers, NRHH, RHA, University Police, a computer lab, as well as a 24/7 front desk.

Mark F. Scully Building was completed in 1971 and was originally known as the Education Psychology Building. It was renamed in honor of Mark F. Scully, the tenth President of the University who is responsible for much of the building and growth of the school in 1960s and '70s, and currently houses the College of Education, Psychology, and Human Environmental Studies Departments, as well as Subway and Starbucks locations.

The University Center was completed in 1975 to meet the demands of the rapidly growing student population of SEMO. The University Center contains the Student Union, lounges, a dining hall, numerous offices, a 500-person ballroom, and the university bookstore. Originally it also held a Bowling alley, but that was removed to make space for the large bookstore. The dining hall has been renovated twice, and includes a retail food court, featuring a variety of foods, as well as a Starbucks on the north side of the building. At over 101,000 square feet (9,400 m2), the University Center is almost four times the size of the original Student Union in Memorial Hall.

Rhodes Hall of Science was built in 1983 and houses the Departments of Agriculture, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Environmental Science. It is named for Roger F. Rhodes, a Gideon farmer and businessman who donated a large sum of money for the construction of a new science building.

Johnson Faculty Centre was built in 1987 as a Faculty Union, and houses the Faculty Senate Offices, as well as providing lodging for visiting guests, faculty, and dignitaries. The Faculty Center is named for B.F. Johnson, former chair of the Math Department for who B.F. Johnson Hall is also named.

The Show Me Center was completed in 1987, and is jointly owned by SEMO and the city of Cape Girardeau. The Show Me Center is the primary multi-purpose building on campus, seating up to 7,000 people. It is used for athletic events, conventions, concerts, and convocation and commencement ceremonies.

Robert A. Dempster Hall was built in 1996 and houses the Donald L. Harrison College of Business. Dempster Hall is a state-of-the-art building featuring satellite technology for distance learning as well as microcomputer labs and numerous classrooms and lecture halls all equipped with cutting edge technology. It also houses the 400-seat John and Betty Glenn Auditorium named for two SEMO Alumni and longtime friends of the University. The hall is named for Robert A. Dempster, a prominent Sikeston MO lawyer and longtime benefactor of SEMO.

Seabaugh Polytechnic Building was built in 2001 and houses the school of Polytechnic Sciences and houses high tech labs and state-of-the-art classrooms for instruction in technical study. Designed by William B. Ittner Inc. of St. Louis, the building was named for Otto and Delia Seabaugh, Alumni whose generous donation made construction of the Polytechnic Building possible.

Willard Duncan Vandiver Hall is a state-of-the-art dormitory building that was constructed in 2002 to keep up with the growing student population at SEMO. It is named for Willard Duncan Vandiver, the fifth President of SEMO, what was at that time the Third District Normal School. Mr. Vandiver is generally credited with coming up with the "Show Me State" slogan. Vandiver Hall houses the Nursing and Transfer learning communities.

Henderson Hall was acquired in 2007 and after an extensive renovation was opened as a new residence hall with apartment-style rooms. Reserved for sophomore, junior, and senior students, Henderson is located just across the street from the University Center. Starting in fall 2015, Henderson Hall will become a military-themed hall, with ROTC and Show Me Gold Program offices, and living space for active-duty military members, veterans, and ROTC/SMG participants.

Merick Hall was built in 2009. It has a dining facility and computer lab in it, and houses the Honors Program learning community. Merick Hall stands beside Houck stadium and just behind the main entrance to stadium producing an imposing and impressive first impression of the campus. The hall was named for university benefactors William and Christene Merick.

LaFerla Hall opened in the fall of 2013 to accommodate the growing student-resident population. It is located between the Seabaugh Polytechnic Building, Wildwood House, and the Show Me Center. The building's designers drew incorporated student feedback about residence hall design and layout. Today it houses the Computer Science, Agriculture, Tomorrow's Teachers, and Secondary Scholars learning communities.

Kenneth and Jeanine Dobbins River Campus Center is a residence hall that opened in the fall of 2014 to accommodate the growing numbers of residents commuting to and from the main campus every day. Named for the current president Dr. Kenneth Dobbins, who put a considerable amount of effort into building up the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts and the River Campus, the center was designed to coordinate with the Seminary Building to the south. In addition to two floors of apartment-style housing which includes the Visual and Performing Arts learning community, Dobbins Center also has practice space, a gym, and a dining hall.

River Campus

The River Campus is home to the Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts. The facilities incorporate two buildings: the Seminary Building and the Cultural Arts Center. These buildings contain the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall, the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, the John and Betty Glenn Convocation Center, the Wendy Kurka Rust Flexible Theatre, the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall, and the River Campus Art Gallery. It is home to the departments of Art, Music, Theater and Dance. The River Campus hosts many performance series: the Touring Series, the Theater and Dance Series, the Symphony Series, the Southeast Ensemble Series, the Jazz Series, the Faculty Recital Series and Sundays at Three chamber music Series. The Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum and Art Gallery features rotating touring exhibitions.

Regional campuses

Southeast and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, MO agreed in 2004 to share higher education facilities at three locations in southeast Missouri: Sikeston, Kennett, and Malden. In spring 2005, Southeast eliminated Three Rivers courses from those centers, citing failure of the community college to pay approximately $10,000 in facilities-use fees. Southeast took over all course offerings at the centers, which have subsequently been named regional campuses of Southeast Missouri State University. Three Rivers Community College filed a lawsuit in March 2005 against Southeast. The lawsuit was subsequently dropped, and Southeast and Three Rivers recently announced plans to develop a joint bachelor's degree program in social work. Southeast now operates four regional campuses, at Kennett, Malden, Sikeston, and Perryville.


Southeast Missouri State has been a member of NCAA Division I (Division I FCS for football) since moving up from Division II in 1991. As a result of the promotion in classifications, Southeast Missouri State left the Division II athletic conference Mid–America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) (which they've been a charter member back in 1912) and joined the Division I Ohio Valley Conference (OVC).

List of fraternities and sororities

Among the fraternities and sororities affiliated with the school are:

North-American Interfraternity Conference

  • Delta Chi
  • Phi Delta Theta
  • Pi Kappa Alpha
  • Sigma Chi
  • Sigma Nu
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Sigma Tau Gamma
  • Theta Xi
  • Tau Kappa Epsilon
  • Lamba Chi Alpha
  • National Panhellenic Conference

  • Alpha Chi Omega
  • Alpha Delta Pi
  • Alpha Xi Delta
  • Delta Delta Delta
  • Gamma Phi Beta
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma
  • Alpha Phi
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council Fraternities and Sororities

  • Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity
  • Delta Sigma Theta sorority
  • Sigma Gamma Rho
  • Zeta Phi Beta
  • Phi Beta Sigma fraternity
  • Iota Phi Theta fraternity
  • Independent Social Fraternities

  • Lambda Chi Alpha
  • Tau Kappa Epsilon
  • Phi Mu Alpha
  • Professional and Service Fraternities

  • Gamma Sigma Sigma
  • Alpha Chi Sigma
  • Sigma Alpha Iota
  • Alpha Kappa Psi
  • Alpha Phi Omega
  • Arrow

    The Arrow is the University's student newspaper. Notably, the second editor of the Capaha Arrow was Rush Limbaugh, Sr. who became a nationally recognized Missouri attorney and practiced law in Cape Girardeau until just before his passing at the age of 104 in 1996. Rush Limbaugh, Sr. is the grandfather of the media personality Rush Limbaugh. After the university changed its mascot from Indians/Otahkians to Redhawks, the newspaper dropped "Capaha" and is now known as simply The Arrow. It is still run by students in the Department of Mass Media and publishes a weekly newspaper distributed throughout campus. Microfilm and print copies of the Capaha Arrow dating back to the first issue are available at Kent Library and Special Collections and Archives, and some stories are also put on The Arrow website.

    Notable alumni

  • 1941 Velmer A. Fassel, scientist Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University
  • 1954 Conlan Carter, actor and airline pilot, attended two years
  • 1960 Dick Hantak, NFL referee
  • 1960 Ken Iman, center with NFL's Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams
  • 1961 Roy Thomas, Comic Book Writer and Former Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics
  • 1968 Clyde A. Vaughn, United States Army Lieutenant General and Director of the Army National Guard
  • 1969 James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
  • 1974 Linda Godwin, NASA astronaut
  • 1976 Peter Kinder, politician
  • 1979 Steve Tappmeyer, basketball coach
  • 1987 Cedric Kyles, aka Cedric the Entertainer
  • 1994 Steven Tilley, Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives
  • 1994 Kerry Robinson, Former Major League Outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • 1998 Angel Rubio, football player
  • 2000 Jason Witczak, kicker with the AFL's Nashville Kats
  • 2001 Neal E. Boyd, 2008 winner of America's Got Talent
  • 2003 Willie Ponder, wide receiver with NFL's St. Louis Rams
  • 2004 Eugene Amano, center with the NFL's Tennessee Titans
  • 2005 Dan Connolly, center/offensive guard with the NFL's New England Patriots
  • 2006 Edgar Jones, outside linebacker with NFL's Baltimore Ravens
  • 2007 Joe Tuineau, lock with Southland Rugby in the Air New Zealand Cup
  • References

    Southeast Missouri State University Wikipedia