APLU’s Council of 1890 Universities celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the signing of the Morrill Act of 1890 with a series of events in Washington, DC on July 14-16. More than 100 presidents, chancellors, senior administrators, faculty, staff, students, and alumni from the 19 land-grant institutions designated under the act participated in the celebration.
The Second Morrill Act, enacted by Congress 28 years after the passage of the original Morrill Act of 1862, gave states funds to establish land-grant universities for persons of color if race was an admissions consideration at the existing state university. Commonly referred to as “1890 Universities,” these institutions have historically provided access and opportunity to the underserved and underrepresented.
Under the theme “Providing Access and Enhancing Opportunities,” the two-day event featured 1890 land-grant university exhibits, meetings with House and Senate members from across the country, a congressional hearing featuring six 1890 presidents testifying on the work of their institutions, including federally-sponsored agricultural research, and a proclamation honoring the 1890 institutions.
The celebration ended with a convocation ceremony in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. Speakers included: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Dr. Juliette Bell, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Chair of the Council of 1890 Universities; Dr. James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress; Peter McPherson, President, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC); USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe; and Steve Mizell, Executive Vice President of Human Resources, Monsanto.
Join the Conversation