The year 2023 marks the 150th anniversary of Southeast Missouri State University. On March 22, 1873, the university was officially founded. With such a rich history, it will take more than one day to celebrate 150 years of education and accomplishment. SEMO has planned a year-long celebration that includes events celebrating history, bringing the community together and informing individuals about the century and a half of history.
On March 22, 2023, the university will host a birthday party from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Students and the community can attend the party for free, as well as a street fair that will provide activities, giveaways and refreshments. All classes scheduled during the two hour period will be canceled.
On April 20, 2023, the Education Department will celebrate its 150th year with a commencement ceremony.
On Feb. 28, 2024, SEMO will celebrate the 45th anniversary of the blizzard of 1979.
On March 30, 2024, SEMO will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the honors program.
The celebration will end April 8 with a solar eclipse viewing, with Cape Girardeau in the center of the totality. It will be the first full eclipse since 2017.
Assistant vice president for Marketing and Communications Tonya Wells said Southeast is looking to celebrate with a year-long commemoration and will take advantage of existing and new events to do so.
Wells said the celebration goes deeper than remembering 150 years of Southeast.
“It becomes not just a celebration of our 90,000 alumni and what they have been able to accomplish in earning their degree, but then how that's changed and transformed the trajectory of their family, along with the communities that they serve in,” Wells said.
“Think about education and all of the teachers we've prepared, and then how many classrooms have those teachers served, how many students' lives have they impacted? That's a really big monumental success story for the university.”
Wells said the university does much more than preparing teachers in 2023.
“We are still [preparing our teachers] today but definitely on a much broader scale, because in addition to teachers, we are preparing our region’s nurses, physicians, business leaders and public servants. This anniversary celebration is as much a part of the community as it is Southeast, because that's the region we serve,” Wells said.
To find out more about how Southeast Missouri State University is celebrating 150 years, visit semo.edu/150, or check out southeastarrow.com.
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Photo courtesy of the Southeast Missourian Archives
Photo courtesy of SEMO.edu
Photo courtesy of the SEMO Archives
Photo courtesy of the SEMO Archives
Photo by Nathan Gladden
Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles was born in Jefferson City, Mo., and spent most of his childhood in Caruthersville, Mo., before moving to Berkley, Mo. He earned a mass communications degree from SEMO in 1987. Kyles began performing stand-up comedy after graduating, making his way onto multiple TV shows. His big break in television was his role Cedric “Jackie Robinson" on “The Steve Harvey Show” in 1996. He is recognized as a premiere entertainer on stage, in film, and on television and was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame in 2018.
Dan Connolly was born in Chesterfield, Mo., and had a successful football and track career at Marquette High School in Chesterfield. In 2001, he was recruited by the SEMO football team, where he started 46 games and was an All-Conference offensive tackle for four consecutive seasons. In 2005, he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars of the NFL. Connolly joined the New England Patriots in 2007 and played eight seasons with the team. He returned to SEMO to complete a degree in general studies in 2011. He retired in 2015 shortly after the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
Linda M. Godwin was born in Cape Girardeau and grew up in Jackson. She earned a degree in mathematics and physics in from SEMO in 1974 before earning master’s and doctoral degrees in physics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Godwin joined NASA in 1980 and worked on several shuttle missions before becoming an astronaut in 1986. She completed four space flights and spent more than 38 days in space before retiring in 2010.
Roy Thomas was born in Jackson, Mo., and grew up in the area. He earned an education degree from SEMO in 1961. After graduating, Thomas taught English before finding his career in comic-book writing. He began his career as the editor of the fanzine Alter Ego in 1964. He succeeded Stan Lee as Marvel’s editor-in chief from 1972 to 1974, and worked in a variety of media for both Marvel and DC Comics throughout his career. He has created or co-created more than 70 characters, including The Black Knight, Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Luke Cage.
Born in Cape Girardeau, Rush Limbaugh briefly attended SEMO during his freshman year in 1970 before leaving to pursue a career in radio. Limbaugh worked for several different radio networks before starting “The Rush Limbaugh Show” in 1988. His distinct, often controversial commentary on political and social issues revolutionized talk radio, and he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump in 2020. Limbaugh died from advanced lung cancer on Feb. 17, 2021.