University & Region Description

The University of Missouri is the flagship campus of the UM System. With over 30,000 students, MU, or Mizzou as it is called, has a reputation for excellence in scholarship, research and student services. MU completed a $1 billion dollar fund raising effort in 2008, making it one of only 18 public universities to have reached that mark in a campaign. (http://mizzouwire.missouri.edu/stories/2008/smart-money/). One of only 34 public university members of the Association of American Universities (AAU), MU offers over 265 degree programs. A member of the SEC Conference, Mizzou competes nationally in 20 sports at the division 1-A level. The MU Counseling Center was founded in 1946 as University Testing and Counseling Services, and its training program started in 1950, with the Psychology Internship program gaining accreditation by the American Psychological Association in 1970. Currently, the Center has an FTE of 15 professional staff serving students, four doctoral interns and nine clinical graduate assistants.

Columbia and the Central Missouri region offer a high quality of life, with numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, arts and music, sports, shopping, and community service. Columbia is a small city, with a population of 116,906 in 2014 (http://www.city-data.com/city/Columbia-Missouri.html). It has many of the conveniences of larger cities but with better accessibility to work, shopping, activities and entertainment. Columbia is home to numerous city parks, Rock Bridge State Park, nature areas, extensive walking and bike trails, and many bike routes on city streets. There are 102 music venues and counting, including those attracting a wide variety of nationally known performers, such as the Hearnes Center and Jesse Auditorium on the MU campus as well as the Historic Missouri Theater and the Blue Note downtown, among others. Restaurants and coffeehouses are plentiful and varied. Annual festivals and events include the True/False film festival, Heritage Festival, Art in the Park, First Night, Summer Music Festival, Roots ‘n Blues ‘n Barbecue Festival and others. Amateur, intercollegiate and professional sports opportunities abound. St. Louis and Kansas City are each about two hours distant by car, and the Lake of the Ozarks is an hour and a half from Columbia. Columbia is a regional center for medical services with four major hospitals and is home to the main office for Shelter Insurance and a regional headquarters for State Farm. An educational hub as well, Columbia is home to Columbia College and Stephen’s College in addition to MU. For Columbia residents 25 years and over, 50.5% have a bachelor’s degree; 24% have a graduate or professional degree, forming a very highly educated populace. Columbia is a very affordable town: The March 2012 cost of living index was 88.4, with the national average set at 100. (source: http://www.city-data.com/city/Columbia-Missouri.html). For further information, go to the official city website at www.gocolumbiamo.com.

Links to a few local points of interest: