MU is one of 34 public universities to be members of the Association of American Universities and the only one in Missouri. There are more than 248,000 MU alumni living worldwide, with almost half continuing to reside in Missouri. The University of Missouri was ranked 90th in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report among the national universities, up four spots from 2011. It is the highest-ranked public school in the state and second overall.
The campus of the University of Missouri is 1372 acre (555.2 ha) just south of Downtown Columbia and is maintained as a botanical garden. The historical campus is centered on David R. Francis Quadrangle, a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1908, the world's first school of journalism was founded by Walter Williams as the Missouri School of Journalism.
The University of Missouri Research Reactor Center is the world's most powerful university research reactor. It is one of only six public universities in the United States with a school of medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, and law all on one campus. The university also owns the University of Missouri Health Care system, which operates four hospitals in Mid-Missouri.
Missouri's only Division I-A athletic team is known as the Missouri Tigers and compete as members of the Big 12 conference. The school's mascot, Truman the Tiger, is named after Missourian and former U.S. president Harry S Truman. According to the NCAA, the American tradition of Homecoming was established at the University in 1911; the tradition has since been adopted nationwide.