They’d made the nine-hour drive from Dallas to Kansas City to view the eclipse. But by 8 a.m., Klaes Svensson and Soren Neilsen began getting worried.
The weather reports were looking bad, and they were concerned their chances to see a once-in-a-lifetime event could be dashed.
So Svensson and Neilsen decided to head east with no particular destination in mind. By 10 a.m., they’d settled on the campus of the University of Missouri, surrounded by thousands of students, faculty and staff who were back in town for the first day of classes.
“We planned to go to St. Joseph, but we realized last night the weather wasn’t going to be good,” Svensson said. “We decided to go east, but we didn’t know where to go.”
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Turns out, they made a good choice. While St. Joseph was mostly socked in by clouds during the total solar eclipse, the skies over Columbia were clear.
The eclipse, paired with the first day students were back in classes, made for a busy Columbia campus Monday. The school provided free pizza to students and handed out more than 4,000 pairs of eclipse glasses.
“We didn’t have class today. All of our classes got canceled,” said Kristina Moore, a sophomore studying chemical engineering. “So that was really nice. We feel really lucky it’s happening here.”
Ruth Tofle, professor and chair of the department of architectural studies, said faculty had the option of canceling classes during the hours of the eclipse, but “school was not supposed to be canceled before and after. But the reality is we didn’t know about the traffic. So I think all classes are basically canceled.”
Tofle said the eclipse is a wonderful way to kick off a new school year, especially after the turmoil the campus has seen in recent years.
“Mizzou is a wonderful school, and we need good press,” she said. “Between our total solar eclipse, and the coming basketball season, all our woes will be gone.”
As for Svensson and Neilsen, they agreed that the drive to Columbia was totally worth it. Even if it maybe wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime moment after all.
“Seeing an eclipse, this is something on my bucket list. It wasn’t until after we decided to do go that we found out there will be one in seven years in Dallas,” he said, laughing. “But then again, I could be dead in seven years.”
He added after the eclipse was over, “That was amazing.”