The University of Missouri (Mizzou, MU, University of Missouri?Columbia or simply Missouri) is a public research university located in the state of Missouri. In 1839 the university was founded in Columbia, Missouri, as the first public institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. The largest university in Missouri, MU enrolls 34,616 students in 20 academic colleges in the 2013?14 year. The university is the flagship of the University of Missouri System which maintains campuses in Rolla, Kansas City and St. Louis. MU is one of the nation's top-tier R1 institutions, and one of 34 public universities to be members of the Association of American Universities and the only one in Missouri. There are more than 270,000 MU alumni living worldwide, with almost one half continuing to reside in Missouri. The University of Missouri was ranked 97th in the 2014 U.S. News & World Report among the national universities, steady from the previous year.