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A bronze, life-sized sculpture was erected to commemorate the University's centennial (1905 to 2005).  The sculpture stands in the east plaza of the J.W. Jones Student Union.The Centennial Statue,  which represents Northwest's past and present, depicts two students, one from 1905 and one from 2005, studying on a bench.The statue was installed in September 2005 and was funded through $70,000 in donations.  Dick and Phyllis Leet spear-headed the efforts to create the sculpture.The Centennial Garden, which features a gas fire pit, water fountains, plant life, benches and a grassy area, honors Northwest's "Quad" buildings (now demolished) and their namesakes: C.A. Hawkins,  J.W. Hake, Jack McCracken and A.H. 'Bert' Cooper. The Centennial Garden was completed in October 2005 for $300,000.

The Northwest Missouri State University celebrated its Centennial in 2005. Northwest's Centennial slogan, "100 years of traditions and transitions" encapsulated the growth and success of a comprehensive regional educational institution that started out as a "normal school" a century ago.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, Northwest held various celebrations and events to mark its 100 years. Several permanent landscape projects were completed such as the Centennial Statue and the Centennial Garden in memory of "the Quads," residence halls that once occupied space between South and North Complexes.

The idea for the Centennial Garden started with an idea offered by 2002 graduate Bradley "BJ" Snopek as part of an independent study when he was a Northwest student majoring in landscape horticulture." Snopek's idea was embraced by the University and work on the Centennial Garden began with a groundbreaking on Mar. 25, 2005. The Centennial Garden was officially opened on Sept. 20, 2005.

Activities during the Centennial ranged from an old-fashioned lawn party with homemade ice cream to a glamorous, black-tie Gala and the burying of a time capsule. The American Dream Grant was also established in honor of Northwest's 100 years and on-going commitment to providing quality education to all. The grant provided tuition, room and board, a computer and textbooks to freshmen from lower-income families.

To celebrate Northwest's 100th birthday, University Marketing and Communication and Dr. Janice Brandon-Falcone, a professor in the history department, joined forces to document Northwest's history in the book entitled Transitions: A Hundred Years of Northwest History.