University of Missouri - Rolla

From Academic Kids

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UMR logo

The University of Missouri-Rolla (abbreviated UMR) is an institution of higher learning located in Rolla, Missouri and part of the University of Missouri system. It is almost entirely an engineering and sciences campus having approximately 4,800 students. The current chancellor of UMR, Gary Thomas, shall be replaced by Dr. John F. Carney III on September 1, 2005.



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Norwood Hall from University Center West.

UMR was originally an MU offshoot called the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (MSM) founded in 1870 as the first technological learning institution west of the Mississippi river. Early in its beginnings, the School of Mines was focused primarily on mining and metallurgy, but by the 1920s, had expanded into civil, electrical, mechanical, and chemical as well as chemistry, physics, mathematics and geology.

A greater emphasis was placed on research and graduate education during the 1950s. In 1964, the School of Mines joined the newly created University of Missouri system as the University of Missouri, Rolla campus. The campus curriculum was expanded to include all the engineering disciplines and also liberal arts.

UMR now ranks in the top 25 schools in the number of bachelor's degrees awarded in engineering.

Campus highlights


UMR Stonehenge, next to Highway 63.
UMR Stonehenge, next to Highway 63.

UMR's Stonehenge is a partial reconstruction of the original Stonehenge monument located on Salisbury Plain, west of London. UMR's version of the ancient structure is located on the northwest corner of campus, and was dedicated on June 20, 1984 during the summer solstice. It features a 50 foot (15 m) diameter ring of 30 stones around a horseshoe of five trilithons through which various sightings of sunrise and sunset can be made. About 160 tons of granite were used to construct the monument. The rock was cut by UMR's waterjet equipment, which used two waterjets cutting at a pressure of 15,000 pounds per square inch (103 MPa), slicing across the surface just like a conventional saw. The cutter moved at a speed of about 10 feet per minute (50 mm/s) and cut between one-quarter and one-half inch (6 and 13 mm) on each pass.

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The Millennium Arch, in front of Castleman Hall.

Millennium Arch

UMR worked together with artist Edwina Sandys to develop a new way for making deep cuts into granite, and used the method to create a new sculpture for the campus. The sculpture is known as the Millennium Arch and forms a fitting compliment to an earlier sculpture, the UMR Stonehenge, which sits on the other end of campus. The Millennium Arch is a single trilithon with a vague silhouette of a man and a woman on each of its supporting megaliths. The man and the woman are standing several meters from the arch (and can be seen in the distance between the two silhouettes in the image to the left). The monument is located on 10th Street, facing Castleman Hall, in Rolla. The project was developed in the High Pressure Waterjet Laboratory ( of the Rock Mechanics & Explosive Research Center ( at UMR.

There are two similar megaliths showing the same silhouette on each side of the sidewalk entrance to the Rock Mechanics & Explosive Research Center.

Student engineering projects

There are many activities, clubs and teams at UMR, but there are several design teams that frequently take the spotlight for being the most representative of UMR's engineering emphasis.

Solar car

UMR's solar car team has met with much success in recent years. Every two years, the team constructs a sleek single-passenger car lined with solar cells that runs exclusively from solar power from the Sun. The car's aluminum frame houses lithium ion batteries, which are much lighter than conventional lead-acid batteries. The driver lays on his back, instead of in an upright position, to make the car's design more aerodynamic. The car has a joystick instead of a steering wheel to allow the driver to exit the car more quickly. Every time the car is rebuilt, design changes are made to make it lighter and more efficient. The team regularly enters solar car races in the United States and occasionally in international races. The car claimed first place in Sunrayce '99, fourth place in the Australian World Solar Challenge in 2001, first place in the 2000 Formula Sun Grand Prix, second place in the 2001 American Solar Challenge (, and first place in the 2003 American Solar Challenge.

Formula SAE car

UMR's Formula SAE team constructs a small formula-style prototype race car every year. The premise of the competition is that the students have been contracted by a corporation to design and build a car with the intent of mass production for weekend autocrossers. The team competes in Pontiac, Michigan against more than 100 other teams from universities around the world. The vehicle's cost, sales presentation, engineering design, acceleration, braking, and racing performance all factor in to its final score. The team has placed in the top twentieth overall in nine of the past twelve competitions, including third and fourth place finishes.

Concrete canoe

UMR's Concrete Canoe Team designs and constructs a canoe out of concrete and races it on a lake in regional and national competitions. The team has participated in concrete canoe competitions since the 1970s. The entire project, including fundraising and construction, is completed by the students. The team took third place in 2004.

Human powered vehicle

The UMR Human Powered Vehicle Team constructs a man-powered land vehicle every year to compete in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The vehicle, which looks something like a bobsled with bicycle wheels, must be light, highly efficient and powered only by its single occupant.

Student life


The newspaper at UMR is the Missouri Miner, a student-run publication. The Miner puts out an new issue every Thursday during the school year, and can be read online. (


There are two broadcast radio stations associated with UMR; KUMR and KMNR. KUMR is member-supported public radio, typically playing classical, bluegrass and jazz music, as well as National Public Radio programs. KMNR ( is a student-run radio station which plays a very diverse range of music, completely dependent upon the mood and inclination of the DJ. There is also an amateur radio station, WØEEE (

St. Patrick's Day

The dominant cultural event at UMR is St. Patrick's Day. Every year boasts being the "Best St. Pat's Ever!" During St. Pat's, students wear green sweatshirts (which are sold as fundraisers throughout the season), carry shillelaghs, and party. The city of Rolla paints the streets near UMR green for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. One tradition is the killing of rubber snakes (in commemoration of St. Patrick's mythical banishing of snakes from Ireland). The previously mentioned shillelaghs are used in this practice.

In past years, students would dunk themselves into a green-colored pool of goo known as Alice, effectively dyeing their skin and hair green for several days. Alice was discontinued by the school administration in the mid-nineties due to health concerns (students who had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol tended to urinate in the pool, making it very disgusting).

The rationale for the celebration is that St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers. Among UMR students, St. Patrick is better reconginzed as an emblem for university than the offical mascot, Joe Miner.

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