A little extra luck

As we head into finals week, you might see students rubbing the nose of the David R. Francis bust near Jesse Hall. Learn more about the history of the fortune-favoring tradition.

comic depicting the david r. francis bust. text panes say: "After Academic Hall burned in 1892, multiple state legislators suggested moving the university to a different part of the state. David R. Francis was a major advocate for keeping Mizzou in Columbia, and Francis Quadrangle was named in his honor." Pane 2: "A bust of Francis, installed in 1924, sits near the northeast entrance of Jesse Hall allowing him to watch over his quad." Pane 3: "Today, students rub the nose on Francis' likeness for good luck on exams."

Dec. 7, 2022
Contact: Deidra Ashley,
Illustration by RJ Platto

We’ve all needed some extra luck here and there. Some may go searching for a four-leaf clover or a heads-up penny on the ground, wish on a falling star or even just cross their fingers and hope for the best … Tigers at the University of Missouri, however, have a longstanding tradition of making their way to the northeast entrance of Jesse Hall to stop by the bust of the Francis Quadrangle’s namesake, David R. Francis.

According to legend, students who rub his nose on the bronze relief sculpture will get an A on their next exam.

Francis boasted a long list of accomplishments including serving as the Governor of Missouri, a U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and the University of Missouri President of the Board of Curators from 1911–21. Most notably, however, he is credited with keeping Mizzou in Columbia after the infamous fire that burned down Academic Hall in 1892.

As you head into finals, if you need a little extra luck — or you’re just a fan of tradition — be sure to pay Mr. Francis a visit to help you ace those exams.
Story written by Madalyn Murry

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