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MISSOURI

University of Missouri

*In-state, two semesters' tuition and required fees. Source: U.S. News Best Colleges 2012.

Established in 1839 as the first public university west of the Mississippi River, Mizzou is one of only five universities in the U.S. with law, medicine, veterinary medicine and a nuclear research reactor on one campus.

Town: Columbia (pop. 108,500)

Enrollment: 33,805 

Nickname: Tigers, named after a band of locals who protected Columbia during the Civil War

Colors: Black and gold

Traditions: The Big ‘M’ of the Midwest, or Marching Mizzou, blasts school songs “Fight Tiger” and “Every True Son” at sporting events. The clipped nickname Mizzou, used as early as 1905, has inspired decades of fans and alumni to yell “M-I-Z!” Fans within earshot reply with “Z-O-U!” 

Eats and treats: Winner of Good Morning America’s “Best College Eats Contest,”Shakespeare’s Pizza is Columbia’s signature place to grab a slice. Booche’s, a cozy pool hall with a classic wooden bar, has the best burgers in town. Less than a football field from Francis Quadrangle, The Heidelberg is a great place for sandwiches, wings and conversation.  

Places and spaces: The Columns are all that remain of Academic Hall, which burned in 1892. The six ionic icons are the centerpiece of Francis Quadrangle, which is the heart of the red campus, named for the buildings’ classic brick architecture. Built in 1926, Memorial Union is a tribute to Mizzou students who died in service to their country. 

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