Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating International Students at Mizzou (continued)

Please come see our "Celebrating International Students at Mizzou" display that is currently on view in the Lower Lair Lounge in the MU Student Center!

Timeline Pt. 1

International students and politics on the national and local stages 

1882- U.S. passes the Chinese Exclusion Act, severely restricting Chinese immigration.

1900- MU begins to admit non-black international students. The U.S. becomes involved in China’s Boxer Rebellion conflict and gradually loosens policies toward China. 

1904- There are 2,673 international students in the U.S. representing 74 nations.

According to its caption, this image from the 1905 Savitar was drawn by Mr. S. Takagi, a Mizzou student from Japan. In 1904 there were 105 total Japanese students in United States universities (image from 1905 Savitar).

1908- The Cosmopolitan Club for international students and advocates is founded at MU.

The Cosmopolitan Club translated the university song “Old Missouri” into 8 languages, including English, for the 1910 Savitar. In 1920 the club expanded its collection to 15 languages and presented a framed copy to Dean Walter Williams of the Journalism School. The expanded version includes Greek, Sanskrit, and Yiddish, among other languages (image from 1910 Savitar).

1917- There are 25 international students at MU. The First World War causes a small drop in numbers, but it is short-lived.

The Cosmopolitan Club, whose motto read “Above all nations is humanity,” was an organization established on campus in 1908 by and for Mizzou’s international students and advocates. The organization was later dubbed the “Cosmo Club” and the “International Club” (image from the 1919 Savitar).

1920- The number of international students at MU grows to 40. There are now approximately 5,000 students of Hispanic descent in universities nationwide.

Pictured above is MU’s Chinese Students Club from 1924. While the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) dramatically limited immigration from China throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries, the United States’ involvement in China’s ‘Boxer Rebellion’ conflict (c. 1900) caused this policy to lax, enabling Chinese students to more readily enter the country (image from 1924 Savitar).

1924- The U.S. passes the Immigration Act, which set an annual quota on immigration from the Asia-Pacific Triangle, including Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others. Far fewer restrictions are placed on immigrants from European and Hispanic nations.

1927- Following the Immigration Act, the number of international students at MU dwindles. In 1927 it drops to 24.

Jesse Wrench and his wife, Jane Wrench, became involved with the Cosmopolitan Club almost immediately upon their arrival to campus in 1908. In 1918 the club declared Professor and Mrs. Wrench ‘Honorary Members’, but the couple actually acted more as unofficial advisers and house parents. For almost 50 years the Wrench’s house acted as the temporary home for international students in need of lodging. Pictured above, the Wrenches host a meet and greet for international students (C:1/141/6 Courtesy of University Archives).

1943- Because of their allied involvement in World War II, Chinese students are increasingly accepted and the Chinese Exclusion Act is eventually dropped altogether. Conversely, Japanese students now nationally find themselves forced out of universities, and in many cases interred.

1946- Following WWII, the U.S. recognizes itself as a world leader. It creates Fulbright Scholarships to federally fund international students and programs. The G.I. Bill causes housing overflow problems at MU. The Ben Bolt Hotel in Columbia is converted into a dormitory for some international students, while others seek host families. An International Center is founded on MU’s Campus.

Authored by Niki Eaton, PhD student, Art History and Archaeology


Brawner Bevis, Teresa and Christopher J. Lucas. International Students in American Colleges and Universities: A History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Missouri Alumnus, University of Missouri Alumni Association.

Savitar, University of Missouri.

***Stay tuned--more International Student info to come!!!