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Home :: Morrill Act
In 1862, the passage of the Morrill Act laid the groundwork for the democratization of public higher education. Today, more than 100 land-grant universities serve the nation and the world. Moreover, the land-grant philosophy of learning, discovery and engagement has been widely embraced by universities nationwide.
:: Click here to read the original Morrill Act
Land-grant and public universities offer graduate and undergraduate students access to highly qualified faculty interested in investigating phenomena and problems of both basic and applied nature. This combination generates a synergy benefitting both learning and discovery. It also fuels a dynamic engagement effort that uses new knowledge to drive economic activity, enhance agricultural and industrial productivity, and improve quality of life.
As the nation celebrates the myriad innovations and accomplishments of the past 150 years, land-grant and public universities are recommitting to their public service missions of educating students, seeking new knowledge, and helping to solve problems locally, regionally, nationally and beyond. To be successful, landgrant and public universities must act with moral and intellectual integrity, with independence, and without personal and institutional interest. They must live up to a distinguished historical legacy and the great expectations of society.
At the same time, land-grant and public universities are facing unprecedented challenges—challenges exacerbated by the recent economic downturn. The time has come for a renewed partnership between public higher education and society. Our nation relies on a higher education system operating in the landgrant tradition of integrating learning, discovery and engagement.
The history of land-grant and public universities is rich, vital and of critical importance to the development of communities, states, and the nation. Public higher education continues the promise of the American ideal that each generation will do better than the next. The Morrill Act Sesquicentennial Anniversary provides public higher education with the opportunity to enhance our ability to address pressing societal needs at home and abroad, including our missions of access and affordability, public service, and innovative research and development as keys to national competitiveness.
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