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More than two years ago, A۰P۰L۰U began to scope an agenda for the Morrill Act Sesquicentennial Anniversary. Guided by a presidential planning committee A۰P۰L۰U has chosen to focus its national efforts on several areas where we feel we can have the most impact. The assocition's intent, is to make the most of the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act (July 2, 1862) not only by way of commemoration but also as a national call for renewal and reinvigoration of commitment to the vitality of public higher education and of its indispensability to the well-being of the people of the United States.
This is not a celebration for just the land-grant institutions, but a celebration that marks the democratization of higher education and emphasizes the critical importance of research and innovation to the nation’s bright future. As such we should encourage all A۰P۰L۰U members, and all public universities, to join in this effort.
It is important to note, that A۰P۰L۰U’s efforts will not just be a celebration of the past. We see this as an opportunity to enhance our ability to provide research, learning, and engagement for future generations. This is an opportunity to both show our accomplishments and call attention to our future needs. It’s also important to note that we see this not just as a celebration for the land-grant institutions, but for all public universities who have embraced the land-grant mission and ideals.
Upon the recommendation of a presidential steering committee, A۰P۰L۰U will observe this important anniversary with a number of specific activities outlined below. Individual campuses are encouraged to offer their own programs as well. (Institutions and organizations celebrating this historic anniversary are encouraged to post their efforts on a national calendar of events. For more information, or to have your events posted, please email David Edelson.)
Commemorative Publication. More than a dozen essays on the future of the land-grant system will be included in a commemorative publication. Daniel Fogel, former president of The University of Vermont, has created an overall structure for the document and funding for the publication is being provided by the National Endowment of Humanities. The essays will not only provide a historical review, but also challenge readers to think about the needs and efforts of land-grant and public universities in the coming decades.
National Convocation. A۰P۰L۰U will host a national convocation on June 26, 2012, in Washington, DC. The convocation program will celebrate the myriad innovations and accomplishments of the past 150 years, while calling attention to the work of land-grant and public universities. The convocation will focus on promoting the learning, discovery and engagement efforts of these institutions to key decision makers and beyond.
2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The spirit of the Morrill Act and the cultural impact of land-grant institutions will be celebrated during the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 27–July 8 on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Nearly 20 A۰P۰L۰U-member institutions and the entire 1890 system responded to an invitation to participate. USDA, which will also celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary, is a partner in this effort.
Issue-Focused Meeting Series. A۰P۰L۰U will be partnering with member institutions on a series of issue-based meetings. Among the topics identified to date: the public university role in the future of energy and sustainability; the role of university systems in providing efficient educational administration; understanding and increasing degree attainment; and alternate delivery models for public institutions. These issue-based meetings are aimed at bringing together university leaders for one-day workshops so they can learn about best practices, emerging trends and discuss and debate the problems while beginning to develop possible solutions.
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