Public Gathers to View Total Eclipse on MU Campus

Aug 21, 2017

Francis Quadrangle, home of the famous University of Missouri columns, was a popular place for people to gather to watch the 2017 solar eclipse in mid-Missouri.

Thousands were expected to flock to Columbia and Jefferson City to view the two-minute-long total eclipse of the sun.

MU parents, alumni and students brought food, blankets and protective glasses to the quad to watch the event.

Drew Zarbuck said he and his wife drive down from Chicago to be with their children, who attend the university. The family got there around 10 a.m.

“We’re just looking forward to the totality and being with loved ones and sharing it with them. I hear an amazing experience,” Zarbuck said.

Others came prepared to fully document the rare moment. Mark Telle, an MU alum, had both a video camera and digital camera to capture every moment of the phenomenon.

“I plan to turn [the video camera] on about a half an hour before totality and a half an hour after totality, so about an hour total,” said Telle , “That way, you can see when the lights come on, on the columns and Jesse’s Dome and the as it gets brighter again.”

While the crowd began small, by the time the eclipse reached totality at 1:12 p.m., hundreds had gathered, cheering as the moon fully eclipsed the sun.

MU student Georgi Gnibus said she had spent her whole life waiting to see an eclipse.

“I read a book in middle school in middle school about an eclipse so I’ve wanted to see one for a really long time,” Gnibus said. “When I heard that one was crossing through Mizzou, I freaked out and got really excited,” she said.

She said the moment brought her to tears.

“I honestly cried. It was so beautiful and I have been waiting to see something like that for so long,” Gnibus said.

She described the campus as busy yet peaceful.

“People were very, I guess I’d say respectful of what was happening. They would cheer but it wasn’t wild. We cheered when it got covered, people were oohing and aww-ing but nobody went nuts so you could still be there and enjoy the moment,” she said.

Like Gnibus, many students had their classes cancelled, but the university left that decision to each professor.