MU named its historic quadrangle after a former Missouri governor and university advocate.
Commemorating an internationally celebrated leader, MU named its historic quadrangle after David Rowland Francis, former Missouri governor and university advocate. Francis’ bronze portrait bust, installed north of Jesse Hall, features a buffed nose due to Tiger students rubbing it for good luck.
The Man, 1889
Francis became St. Louis mayor in 1885 and Missouri governor in 1889. President Grover Cleveland appointed him Secretary of the Interior in 1896. Francis helped organize the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. As ambassador to Russia during its revolution, he alone fended off a Bolshevik mob at gunpoint on the steps of the American Embassy in Moscow.
Legend has it that a students who rub the nose of the Francis bust will get an A on their next exam.
While governor, Francis ensured that a secret ballot system was adopted in Missouri elections. He reduced the state tax rate and provided much-needed funding for the University of Missouri. He is most celebrated for dogged efforts to keep the university in Columbia after a fire destroyed Academic Hall in 1892.