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Truman State University is Missouri's "premier public liberal arts university." It is the only public school in the state rated "highly-selective." It's in Kirksville, Missouri and until 1996 was known as Northeast Missouri State University.

Founded as the North Missouri Normal School and Commercial College in 1862 by Joseph Baldwin in the northeast corner of rural Missouri, Truman still prides itself on its excellence in teacher education. With the times, though, the name has changed. Later made public and renamed First District Normal School, it was the first Missouri supported institution whose primary goal was the education of educators. In 1919, The Missouri General Assembly changed its name to Northeast Missouri State Teacher's College. The legislature decided in 1967 to add other programs besides Teacher Education and renamed the school, once again. This time to Northeast Missouri State College, and five years later, to Northeast Missouri State University. In 1985, the governor (then Mr. John Ascroft who is currently serving as Attorney General of the United States) signed the bill to give NMSU a new mission: It was to become the state's public liberal arts school and to remove it from the regional school category to a statewide institution. In 1995, the governor again acted (this time the late Mr. Mel Carnahan) to change the name. The new name had to reflect the new liberal-arts focus and disassociate the university from its former regional status. They chose the name Truman State University in honor of Harry Truman, the only Missouri man to serve as President of the United States. In 2003, Truman history was made when a woman, Dr. Barbara Dixon, was made President after the retirement of Dr. Jack Magruder.

Truman State University is now a force to be reckonned with. The campus population is small at just over 6,000, around one-third of which are receiving bright-flight (a hefty scholarship for missouri residents scoring in the top 3% in the nation on the ACT or SAT) It has the best Accounting program in the state, scoring 6 of the top 10 spots on the CPA exam, including first, second, and third in 2003. It has very high retention rates, and is fairly decently priced comapred to other public univeristies in the state. The Career Center on campus, open to students and alumni, is absolutely wonderful and has a 94% placement rate into a job or grad. school right after graduation. It has been said by far too many that Kirksville's main attraction is its Wal-Mart. However, this is not true. While there may be fewer things to do here than in major college towns such as Columbia, Missouri or Springfield, there is a state park and with a good-sized lake within ten miles from campus, many restaurants, and at least 5 dollar general-type stores. Campus, however, has been rated 8th in the nation for on-campus activities. There is quite literally ALWAYS something to do on the TSU campus. Campus is also one of the prettiest in the state. Most of the buildings share architectural style dating to the 60's, and a few are completely modern. Magruder Hall is actually still being renovated and added on to, and is still in use. When Truman adds on to a building, they tend to leave the old building standing and wrap the new around it creating a very awesome effect.

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