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Senate Designates August 30 as ‘1890 Land-Grant Institutions Quasquicentennial Recognition Day’

Washington, DC — The United States Senate passed a resolution this week designating August 30, 2015 as “1890 Land-Grant Institutions Quasquicentennial Recognition Day.” The resolution, which Senator John Boozman (R-AK) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led, recognizes the legacy of the Morrill Act of 1890, which helped establish public universities accessible to African Americans in states that had previously excluded them. The resolution notes the contributions 1890 Universities have made in developing agricultural leaders and urges the Department of Agriculture to “remain committed to supporting the goals of the Second Morrill Act.”

“On behalf of the Council of 1890 Land-grant Universities, I want to thank Senator Boozman and Senator Brown for taking the initiative in the Senate to recognize the important work the 1890 universities are doing in our communities, states and around the world,” said Dr. Juliette Bell, President of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Chair of the APLU Council of 1890 Universities. “It was a great honor for the 1890 Presidents to join our supporters in Washington last month to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Second Morrill Act and for the presidents to testify before Congress on the opportunities and challenges facing our universities. We look forward to working with the Senate, House and the administration on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act to further strengthen all of the 1890s.

Commonly referred to as “1890 Universities,” these institutions are the 19 historically black universities given land-grant status under the Morrill Act of 1890, which helped extend access to public higher education to African Americans. Today, the 1890s educate more than 110,000 students annually while contributing cutting-edge research and engaging in significant community development. They award more than half of all agriculture, education, and physical and computer science degrees and nearly half of all engineering degrees earned by African-American students at land-grant universities. The 1890s help meet a crucial need to educate more first-generation and low-income American college students.

“We thank Senators Boozman and Brown for recognizing the many achievements of 1890 Universities and helping celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “The 1890s will continue playing a foundational role in our higher education system and in expanding access to higher education to underserved communities.”

More than 100 presidents, senior administrators, elected officials, and public servants gathered in Washington, DC on July 14-16 to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the signing of the Morrill Act of 1890 and recognize the contributions 1890 Universities continue to make to their communities and country. The celebration ended with a convocation ceremony in the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. The 1890 Universities will continue commemorating the 125th Anniversary throughout the year.

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