Tarkio College

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Tarkio College
Tarkio College, circa 1910
Established 1883
Type Private
Affiliation United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America
Location Tarkio, Missouri
Sports basketball
Nickname Owls

Coordinates: 40°26′35″N 95°23′32″W / 40.443032°N 95.39234°W / 40.443032; -95.39234

Tarkio College was a college that operated in Tarkio, Missouri from 1883 to 1992 and then reopened in 2012. The institution was supported by the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.[1] It was closed after filing for bankruptcy protection in 1991 and then was reopened in 2012 as a continuing education institution for professionals.[2]


Samuel C. Marshall was the first president and William E. Walker served as the last president.[2]

The Tarkio College mascot was the owl. The school colors were purple and white, and the college's motto, often attributed to its founder, gentleman farmer David Rankin, was "Set Fire, Tarkio!"[2]

Tarkio College won the first NAIA Division I Men's basketball championship in 1940, defeating San Diego State 52–31.[2]

Brewer and Shipley named their most famous album Tarkio after this college in 1970.[citation needed][dubious ].

One of the school's most famous structures was the Mule Barn Theatre, an octagon-shaped structure used originally to house mules. It was on the National Register of Historic Places but was destroyed in a 1989 fire.[3]

After Tarkio College closed, the library books were purchased by and moved to Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There were also several attempts to find alternative uses for the property, including early discussions about the possible founding of a new institution, Tarkio Valley College. Initially, Youth Services International, Inc. operated Tarkio Academy, a residential and community-based educational program for juveniles between 1995–2004.[4] North Central Missouri College and Linn State College then announced an exploration of options for a new jointly operated technical college in early 2006. This was soon followed by reports that the property would become the Midwest Institute of Energy, a private college.[5] The institute missed its planned opening of 2009.

The Tarkio College Alumni Association preserved the original Tarkio College 1883 corporation and reopened the college in 2012 with a revised mission of providing continuing education for professionals as mandated for them by various state agencies, licensing boards or accrediting agencies. It does not provide academic credits at this time. Education and training will be available at locations throughout the United States as traditional seminars, online classes, interactive webinars—and also at the home campus in Tarkio, MO. The Alumni Association has rented the main building on the Tarkio campus, Rankin Hall, and is in the process of restoring this 1931 landmark. Robert A. Hughes, Tarkio College Class of 1971, is the current president of the newly reorganized college.

Educational records[edit]

After the college closed, student transcript records were transferred to Northwest Missouri State University, where they can be requested through the Registrar's Office at 800 University Drive, Maryville, MO 64468.[6]

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett (1865–1946) received his degree in pedagogy from Tarkio College. He is remembered for helping to bring about the Antiquities Act that enabled preservation of archaeological sites as United States national monuments. He was also the first president of the New Mexico Normal School, whose current name is New Mexico Highlands University.[8]
  • Esmark Industrial Group CEO David A Luptak graduated from Tarkio College and went on to Law School at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Tarkio alumnus Allen Reynolds graduated in 1960 and went on to play professional football with the Dallas Texans 1960–62. The team moved to Kansas City where he played with the Kansas City Chiefs 1963–67. He was number 60 and played offensive right guard.


  1. ^ Williams, Walter (1901). The State of Missouri. pp. 197–210. ISBN 0-9798714-5-X. 
  2. ^ a b c d Craig, Cathryn C.; Naylor, Jone (1992). Tarkio College, 1883-1992: "An Illustrated History of the Crown of the Hill". Family First Publications. 
  3. ^ http://www.dalejtravis.com/rblist/rbmo.htm
  4. ^ Belleville News-Democrat (February 13, 2006). "Old Tarkio College library considered for possible tech college". Belleville News-Democrat. 
  5. ^ St. Joseph News-Press & Gazette Company (July 18, 2006). "Former Tarkio College will become energy institute". St. Joseph News-Press & Gazette Company. 
  6. ^ NWMSU holds the repository of transcripts from Tarkio college, as well as Platt College. [1]
  7. ^ Hermes, Matthew (1996). Enough for One Lifetime, Wallace Carothers the Inventor of Nylon. Chemical Heritage Foundation. ISBN 0-8412-3331-4. 
  8. ^ Fisher, Reginald (July 1947). "Edgar Lee Hewett". American Antiquity 13 (1): pp. 78–79. 
  9. ^ "The Last Sortie: John H. Eastwood". The 464th in WWII. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 

External links[edit]