A-Z Index

Dates in Northwest History


Day Year Event
Dec. 1 1944 Fire exits to the Administration Building auditorium were under construction.
Dec. 1 1945 Dr. J.W. Jones, the dean of faculty, assumed the role as Northwest's sixth president.
Dec. 2 2015 Gov. Jay Nixon visited Northwest to announce the University would receive more than $6.8 million for campus improvements through the state's Building Affordability initiative to support public colleges and universities. The University invested the funds in needed electrical system repairs at the B.D. Owens Library, Everett Brown Education Hall, Martindale Hall, the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building and the Jon T. Rickman Electronic Campus Support Center in addition to replacing all windows at the Administration Building, Brown Hall, Colden Hall and the Thomas Gaunt House.
Dec. 3 1979 Presidents of the Faculty Dames, Sigma Tau Gamma and the Inter-Residence Hall Council presented Northwest President B.D. Owens with a check totaling $8,279.79 from a series of fundraisers to assist the University with restoring the Administration Building after the devastating July fire.
Dec. 3 1984 The Mary Linn Performing Arts Center, which is known today as the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts, opened with a concert by the Kansas City Symphony. Joe Linn, husband of the late Mary Linn, provided a donation of $250,000 to complete the center.
Dec. 3 2009 More than 150 people gathered on the lawn of the Thomas Gaunt House for the first holiday tree-lighting ceremony hosted by the Jasinski family.
Dec. 3 2019 The Northwest community gathered around the Memorial Bell Tower for the annual Holiday Tree Lighting, which was reformatted as a celebration of diversity. The Northwest tradition had previously taken place at the Gaunt House.
Dec. 4 1959 The first basketball game was played in Lamkin Gymnasium, now known as Bearcat Arena.
Dec. 4 1984 Dr. Dean Hubbard was inaugurated as the University’s ninth president in the new Mary Linn Performing Arts Center. The facility was dedicated in concurrence with the inauguration, and Hubbard unveiled a plaque with a picture of Mary Linn, a member of the Board of Regents from 1975 to 1981. The facility has since been expanded and is known today as the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.
Dec. 4 1995 Maya Angelou, an internationally known poet and the White House poet for the Clinton administration, performed for a sold-out audience at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.
Dec. 4 2008 President Hubbard was awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy degree from the University of Gloucestershire in England while attending its annual commencement ceremonies. Hubbard was lauded for "his work and achievements in university education" and "enhancing student achievement through university-wide process improvement."
Dec. 5 2004 After an exhaustive restoration, the Memorial Bell Tower was rededicated with a ceremony honoring former President Dr. Robert Foster and Everett Brown, who was an assistant to Foster when the Bell Tower was envisioned and constructed.
Dec. 5 2012 During an impromptu ceremony outside the president’s office, Northwest awarded a Bachelor of Science degree to Bryce Webb, a member of the U.S. Navy who was being deployed to Afghanistan the next day.
Dec. 5 2012 Students in Jacquie Lamer's advanced advertising strategies course pitched their rebranding campaigns for the Mozingo Lake Recreation Park to city of Maryville leaders as the culmination of a semester-long project in partnership with the city. The concepts adopted by the city included a new logo highlighting the recreation area’s tall grasses.
Dec. 5 2014 Country duo Dan + Shay performed at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts for the Student Activities Council's fall concert.
Dec. 6 2010 U.S. gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson presented a lecture to a packed auditorium in the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts.
Dec. 7 1967 The Tower Choir and College Chorus, directed by Byron Mitchell, performed a concert with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dec. 7 2018 The Hughes Fieldhouse, which opened in October, hosted its first major event, the two-day Mel Tjeerdsma Classic indoor track and field meet.
Dec. 8 1941 A special assembly occurred to hear a broadcast of President Roosevelt's speech to Congress, during which he asked for a declaration of war after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Dec. 8 1945 The first formal dance takes place at the College since the beginning of World War II.
Dec. 8 1948 The Scholarship Supremacy Cup is awarded for the first time and is won by Sigma Sigma Sigma.
Dec. 9 1912 President H.K. Taylor recommended opening a drive from the entrance to the school grounds on Fourth Street to run north to intersect Seventh Street; the Board of Regents approved a bill of $1,475 for repairs to a smokestack damaged by lightning.
Dec. 9 1919 The Board of Regents voted to keep the college in session despite a coal shortage and ordered the school day to begin at 12:30 p.m. and close at 4:30 p.m. with no evening activities.
Dec. 10 2007 A catastrophic ice storm struck Maryville, destroying about 100 trees on the campus in addition to downing power lines and leaving thousands of residents without electrical power. 
Dec. 11 1906 The Board of Regents approved plans by J.H. Felt & Co., Architects, of Kansas City, for construction of the Academic Hall, which is known today as the Administration Building, and future development of the campus.
Dec. 11 1922 Kappa Omicron Phi, an honorary home economics fraternity, was founded on the campus by Miss Hettie M. Anthony, the head of the home economics department.
Dec. 11 1999 The Northwest football team won its second NCAA Division II National Championship by defeating Carson-Newman, 58-52, in four overtimes.
Dec. 12 1941 100 percent of the College's faculty and students purchased Defense Stamps as the U.S. entered World War II.
Dec. 12 1947 President J.W. Jones was injured in an automobile accident and suffered broken ribs and bruising.
Dec. 12 1998 The Bearcat football team won its first NCAA Division II National Championship, defeating Carson-Newman, 24-6, in Florence, Alabama.
Dec. 12 2008 Jennifer Becker, a biology and psychology major, was the first to graduate from Northwest's Honors Program, which was launched in 2005 for gifted and highly motivated students.
Dec. 12 2009 The Bearcat football team defeated Grand Valley State University, 30-23, to win its third NCAA Division II National Championship in Florence, Alabama; the game was Northwest's fifth consecutive appearance in the national championship game.
Dec. 13 1938 The Nu chapter of the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity was installed on campus.
Dec. 13 1952 The first all-school formal dance took place in the Student Union building.
Dec. 13 1953 The 20th anniversary of the "Hanging of the Greens" took place at Residence Hall.
Dec. 13 2013 During its winter commencement ceremony, Northwest bestowed the honorary degree of Doctor of Pedagogy on John Gardner, the founder of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and an inspirational friend of the University.
Dec. 13 2019 Karie Ogle, a nurse at Maryville High School, became the first to graduate from Northwest’s RN-BSN program after it was relaunched in 2017 as an online nursing degree program.
Dec. 14 1926 An explosion in the chemistry department laboratory caused $10,000 in damage.
Dec. 14 1944 A drive for the Sixth War Loan opened with a goal to raise $2,500 from the College; by Jan. 15, $20,672.20 had been raised.
Dec. 14 1947 The first student from England, Hilda Jolly, enrolled.
Dec. 14 1963 Jazz legend Louis Armstrong appeared at the annual Christmas Ball in Lamkin Gym. Tickets were $1.50 per person.
Dec. 15 1916 The Glee Club presented Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance."
Dec. 15 1943 "Photostat Junior," a photographic copying machine, was added to the equipment for the registrar's office.
Dec. 15 1954 "Everybody who likes to sing" was invited to join in carol singing in front of the Administration Building auditorium in the second-floor corridor for 15 minutes before the meeting of afternoon classes.
Dec. 15 1958 Faculty voted against a proposal to establish faculty rankings -- a vote that President J.W. Jones disapproved, leading to his formation of a Faculty Rank Committee, the first of its kind at Northwest.
Dec. 16 1988 Ryland Milner, who captained the Bearcat football and basketball teams to conference championships as a player in 1932-33 and later coached the teams to conference championships, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
Dec. 17 1908 Faculty learned they would not receive salaries because state funds were depleted.
Dec. 17 1933 "The Hanging of the Greens" at Residence Hall, a custom observed each Christmas season, was started by Miss Margaret Stephenson.
Dec. 17 1944 Residence Hall was still occupied by the Navy men, but the college women returned for the traditional Hanging of the Greens.
Dec. 17 1956 During the annual Hanging of the Greens ceremony, Sue Wright, who became the wife of future Northwest President B.D. Owens and thus a future first lady, was the senior student honored as the "Spirit of Christmas."
Dec. 17 2004 Northwest adopts a new logo identity.
Dec. 17 2010 Northwest head football coach Mel Tjeerdsma, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college football, is inducted into the Division II Football Hall of Fame.
Dec. 17 2016 The Northwest football team won the NCAA Division II national championship, beating North Alabama 29-3 during a snowstorm at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Bearcats went 15-0 for the second consecutive season and their second consecutive national title. The sixth title in program history, it gave Northwest the record for most Division II football national championships.
Dec. 18
Dec. 19 1943 The traditional Hanging of the Greens took place at the home of President and Mrs. Jones, because Residence Hall had been given over to the Navy for housing men.
Dec. 19 2015 The Northwest football team beat Shepherd University, 34-7, to win its fifth NCAA Division II national championship. A record-setting crowd of 16,181 fans attended to see the Bearcats make their first title game appearance at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Dec. 19 2016 Northwest formally announced Rich Wright, a former graduate assistant and member of the coaching staff since 2004, as the 20th head coach of Bearcat football. Two days after the Bearcats won their sixth national championship, Wright took over for Adam Dorrel, who resigned to accept a head coaching position at another school.
Dec. 20 1995 Northwest student Mercedes Ramirez was one of just four survivors of American Airlines Flight 965 when it crashed into the side of the Andes Mountains in Colombia. Ramirez and her parents, who did not survive, were aboard the jetliner, heading to Colombia for the holidays.
Dec. 21 2013 The Northwest football team won its fourth NCAA Division II National Championship with a 43-28 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne in the last Division II football championship game played in Florence, Alabama.
Dec. 24 1918 Students finished their fall term, having attended classes on Saturdays to make up for lost time resulting from a campus closure that fall during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic.
Dec. 25 1919 The staffs of the College paper sent gifts for "Christmas cheer to war-stricken children of France."
Dec. 29 2010 Legendary football coach Mel Tjeerdsma announced his retirement after 17 seasons of leading the Bearcats.
Dec. 31 2010 Northwest announced that defensive coordinator Scott Bostwick would succeed Mel Tjeerdsma as head football coach.