Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Campus-wide birthday party held in celebration 150 years of SEMO

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
SEMO students shoot confetti to celebrate the University's 150 anniversary. A large SEMO present was opened at the same time, and held sesquicentennial t-shirts inside.
Photo by Lizzy Stock

Founded in 1873, March 22, 2023, marked the Southeast Missouri State University sesquicentennial anniversary, and a celebration was held at the University Center on SEMO’s campus.

During the celebration, students and faculty from all organizations had a chance to show off their SEMO pride. From dunk tanks to display tables, as well as food, such as cake, ice cream, pretzels and shaved ice. Shoulder-to-shoulder crowds made their way through the University Center and had a chance to speak with organizations to learn about what they bring to SEMO. Resource centers such as Tutorial Services held informational booths for new sign ups, greek life and clubs showed their organizations activities and ways to get involved.

The celebration also marked a time in which students and faculty could reflect on what SEMO has done and where the university will go. President of SEMO Carlos Vargas said the drive toward excellence has always been a part of SEMO’s mission, both for faculty and staff.

“We are a very unique institution that truly cares about students,” Vargas said. “We’re student-centered; students get an education here, but they also help us make better positions to improve the university, and that's something we always emphasize.”

Vargas said the success of today is just one part of SEMO’s story, and as the university continues its journey, it will remain dedicated to this mission.

Others looked toward the opportunities SEMO has and can provide. Junior psychology major Brandi Peoples said getting to see the diversity of the campus and its organizations is a part of the positive change SEMO has to offer.

“Hopefully, we get to see even more Black organizations and People of Color coming to SEMO to come together and celebrate it,” Peoples said.

Alumni were not exempt from the celebration. Adjunct instructor of kinesiology, nutrition and recreation and alumna Brittney Swicionis said having the community come together to celebrate the momentous day is all a part of what makes SEMO great.

“As an alumni, each of us as Redhawks are making history in our own way. I love being able to see students, faculty, staff and community members come together,” Swicionis said. “Our future is really bright. We have amazing Redhawks, and as an adjunct instructor, I see each of them owning their future and ready to pave the way for the next generation.”

With 150 years under its belt, SEMO’s mission statement, “The drive to succeed, the will to do,” is reflected in its students, faculty and staff who make up its campus.