‘Lucky’ monument to pivotal MU leader turns 100

David R. Francis Monument in front of Jesse Hall.
Monument to David R. Francis in front of Jesse Hall.

A campus landmark recognizing an influential figure in Mizzou, state and national history celebrates its 100th anniversary this week.

David R. Francis served as U.S. secretary of the Interior, governor of Missouri and president of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, among many accomplishments. He was instrumental in helping rebuild campus after Academic Hall was destroyed by fire, and he was a strong advocate for the university. To commemorate his contributions, in 1923 the curators approved a new monument in his honor.

That monument – featuring a sculpture of Francis – was unveiled 100 years ago on June 3, 1924. Originally on Ninth Street, it now sits at the north end of Jesse Hall and faces Francis Quadrangle, which bears his name. University tradition has it that students who rub Francis’ nose receive good luck on their exams.

This summer, we’re completing necessary improvements to Francis Quad, including the area around the monument. Completion is anticipated during the fall semester, when the sculpture of Francis will again welcome students and visitors.

We continue to strengthen the land-grant mission that David R. Francis did so much to preserve. A century later, his monument still provides a lasting example of Mizzou’s legacy of excellence.

— Mun