Universities tend to draw in brains, and the University of Missouri is no exception.
Jesse Hall, University of Missouri-Columbia
What makes Columbia different is that, for a Midwestern town, we’re very liberal: We’re a city of about 110,000 with a Planned Parenthood clinic, a strong LGBTQ advocacy presence, and lots of other great stuff. Around 50% of adults in Columbia have bachelor’s degrees, and about 25% of adults have master’s degrees. Go 20 miles in any direction and things are very, very different. According to our Wikipedia page, we’re known as “The Athens of Missouri,” which is weird, because there actually IS a small town called Athens, MO. I’ve never heard anyone call us that in person, but it fits, I think. We’re a blue island in a sea of red.
I was born and raised in Columbia, and although I also lived in Philadelphia and travel a lot, I think it’s a great town and I keep finding myself ending up back there. What makes Columbia so different? It has a strong secular mindset, even if all its citizens aren’t nonreligious. It has a lot of scientists and a lot of doctors, people who value and are good at critical thinking. And this are very positively linked with brains.
I’m glad Columbia made the list!
Dave Muscato is Vice President of MU SASHA. He is a vegetarian, LGBTQ ally, and human- & animal-welfare activist. A junior at Mizzou studying economics & anthropology and minoring in philosophy & Latin, Dave posts updates to the SASHA blog every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday and twice monthly for the Humanist Community at Harvard. His website ishttp://www.DaveMuscato.com.
Danielle Muscato is a civil rights activist, writer, and public speaker. She has appeared on or been quoted in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, VH1, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, "The Real Story" with Gretchen Carlson, The O'Reilly Factor, Huffington Post Live, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Raw Story, CNN, CBS, and Howard Stern
Danielle is the former Director of Public Relations for American Atheists. She is also a board member of MU SASHA (University of Missouri Skeptics, Atheists, Secular Humanists & Agnostics).
Her website is http://www.DanielleMuscato.com.
Follow her on Google+
Follow her on Twitter @daniellemuscato
Subscribe to her on YouTube at www.youtube.com/davemuscato