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University of Missouri

Luck of the Irish

Engineering students have celebrated E-Week since 1903.

Mizzou Engineering Kow-Tow

MU senior engineering students perform the first Grand Kow-tow in 1905. Engineering at the University of Missouri (E.W. Stephens Co., 1941)

Mizzou's blarney stone

Mizzou’s “Blarney Stone” was discovered during the 1906 excavation of the Engineering Annex Building. Engineering at the University of Missouri (E.W. Stephens Co., 1941)

Some say it’s not easy being green, but engineers at MU would vehemently disagree. Legend has it College of Engineering Professor A.M. Greene was a few minutes late to class one March day in 1903. That was all students needed to decide the period between winter and spring breaks was too long. They conspired to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — hey, he is the patron saint of engineers — by skipping class. More than a century later, engineering students still celebrate Engineers’ Week in honor of St. Pat, though now it involves guest lectures, lab exhibits, a knighting ceremony, honor awards banquet, a green tea ceremony and a formal ball. The Jesse Hall dome will glow green during E-Week March 7–15.

A Bit O’ Blarney

Mizzou’s “Blarney Stone,” bearing a message translated as “Erin Go Bragh,” was discovered during the 1906 excavation of the Engineering Annex Building. Although those of Irish descent might read Erin Go Bragh as “Ireland Forever,” the MU engineers declared the phrase to mean “St. Patrick was an engineer.”

Mizzou Engineering Shamrock

This stone shamrock sits outside Lafferre Hall. Photo by Rob Hill.

The Grand Kow-tow

Every E-Week, a reincarnated St. Pat, dressed head-to-toe in emerald green, comes to campus to honor graduating seniors. During the ceremony, each student is dubbed a knight or lady of St. Patrick with the tap of a crooked staff called a shillelagh — pronounced sheh-ley-lee — and kisses the Blarney Stone. The event closes with all seniors prostrate at the saint’s feet, a performance called the Grand Kow-tow.

Stone Shamrock

On the patio outside Lafferre Hall sits a stone shamrock, a symbol for engineers. It’s been said that a walk across the stone guarantees a marriage to an engineer.