It looks like a puck. At least, it’s shaped like a puck. It must be a puck. That’s what UMR students decided after a rather mysterious concrete and rock structure, shaped like a huge hockey puck, showed up on campus in the early 1970s.
Many rumors about the Puck were circulated back then, and some of them became myths over time. The Puck is thought to be the base of a missing statue. Some people say it used to be a fountain but was filled in with concrete. Others think a time capsule or lost treasure might be buried below the surface.
The truth is, the Puck is simply a stage for the various performances that have occurred over the years on campus. But, of course, it’s also more than that.
The Puck is a frame of reference – as in, if you stand in front of the Puck and look to the north, you’ll see the UMR library. It used to complement the twin buildings of the University Center complex.
But now that University Center-West has been demolished, the Puck is situated more or less by itself in the mall area between University Center-East and the library, and it’s apparently there to stay. That the Puck should stand out even more is only fitting. After all, this stage has been at the center of attention for a lot of big events in UMR history.
In addition to countless musical performances, speeches, and fashion shows, students have been painting the Puck to commemorate St. Pat’s celebrations since the 1980s. Lots of weddings have taken place at the Puck, and it’s probably safe to say a few first kisses went down at the old puckster.
Sure, Mizzou has its columns. Texas has a tall tower. Georgia has some famous hedges that football games are played between. Ohio State even has a big horseshoe. But UMR has the one and only Puck.