Whitney Hale

By

College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: Kentucky's Land Grant Promise

Published: Jul 2, 2012

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 2, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015 and the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act on July 2, the 12th of 150 weekly installments on the university's history explores UK's origins in the legislative act.

 

Close to 150 years ago on July 2, 1862, an act of Congress, known as the Morrill Act, gave to each state in the Union 30,000 acres of public lands for each senator and representative in Congress "for the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts in such manner as the legislatures of the states may respectively prescribe in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life."

 

The act made instruction in those branches of learning related to agriculture and the mechanic arts obligatory. It also made instruction in military tactics obligatory. It made the inclusion of other scientific and classical studies optional within the states. The states could use the Morrill fund to establish and maintain an Agricultural and Mechanical College only, or they could make the Agricultural and Mechanical College the nucleus of a university organization that included agriculture and mechanics as one of its colleges.

 

The University of Kentucky is the outgrowth of the Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) College of Kentucky which was established under the provisions of the Morrill Land Grant Act. Under this government allotment, Kentucky received 330,000 acres to build the institution.

 

When the Morrill Act passed Congress, the country was in the midst of the Civil War. Even with most educational matters on the backburner, the A&M College became a publicly chartered department of Kentucky University (now Transylvania University) under a cooperative plan authorized by the legislature in 1865. The purpose of this plan was to unite sectarian and public education under one organization. This experiment was tried for a number of years. In the meantime, the federal funds authorized under the Morrill Act were used to develop agriculture and mechanic arts (which evolved into UK's College of Engineering) programs at Kentucky University.

 

In 1878, when the people of Kentucky decided to establish a state institution of higher learning, the A&M College separated from Kentucky University and reestablished on land given to the institution by the city of Lexington and Fayette County. Thirty years later the legislature changed the name of the institution to the State University of Kentucky, and gave it additional financial support. In 1916 the name was again changed, this time to the present title, and additional maintenance was arranged by legislative act.

 

In the early days of agricultural colleges not much agriculture was actually taught because little was known beyond farm experience. The realization of the scarcity of scientific data in the field gave great impetus to investigations and to the study of sciences related to plant and animal growth. Recognizing the need for investigation, Congress through the Hatch Act, approved in 1887, appropriated to states $15,000 each for the purpose of establishing experiment stations. However, the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station was established in Dec. 1885 with Melville A. Scovell as its director. Scovell, who later served as dean of the College of Agriculture, served as director of the experiment station to 1912.

 

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities considers the nation's system of public universities "the legacy of the Morrill Act of 1862 which established new public institutions in each state through the grant of federal lands. The original mission of these new institutions was to teach agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so that members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education. The Morrill Act provided a broad segment of the population with a practical education that had direct relevance to their daily lives."

 

For more on the original Morrill Act, visit www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=33.

 

This story from UK and the nation's history was provided by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

 

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UK Baseball vs. Louisville
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Pinterest Party #2
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LNFS presents Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Men's Tennis vs. Illinois
UK Softball vs. Louisville
UK Men's Tennis vs. Northern Kentucky
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Student Health Advisory Council Meeting
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
Selecting the Right Tree for Your Landscape Class 1
#TrendingTopics: It's Not Easy Being Green
Wed
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UK Toastmasters
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Thu
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UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
UK Baseball vs. Florida
Kentucky Children's Garden Spring Break Special!
Creoles Topopholia
Religion & Politics in Anxious States
Exploring, Remixing, Analyzing: Teaching History with Digital Media
Cormac O'Grada - "The Nature of Famines"
"The Nature of Famines," Committee on Social Theory Public Lecture
Building a Rain Garden: Collaborative Effort with UK
Fri
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Bluegrass Bazaar
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UK Baseball vs. Florida
UK Softball vs. Texas A&M
Ride the Legacy
UK Men's Tennis vs. Vanderbilt
Sun
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Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Job Club: Research Your Target Organization Before the Interview: What to Know and How to Find Out
#UK Kicks Butts Day
UK Softball vs. Wright State
Dine. Discover. Decide.: Connecting students to alumni in 3D!
Earth Days in the Bluegrass and the Late Night Film Series Present: Gasland Part II, A Bike-In Movie
UK Baseball vs. Morehead State
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
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LNFS presents Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
UK Men's Tennis vs. Ohio State
Boxes & Walls: Oppression through History
Wellness On Wheels
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
Overview of Nursing Home Care
Spring (Bike) Fever Twitter Chat
UK Softball vs. Mississippi Valley
Best Practices for Tree Planting and Establishment Class 2
UK Men's Tennis vs. Morehead State
Wed
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LNFS presents American Hustle
UK Toastmasters
Bike-Through Resource Fair
Undergraduate Research Group Advising Session: April General
Presentation by Ladino Rockstar, Sarah Aroeste
Mountain Biking for Beginners Clinic
LNFS presents The Mexican Suitcase
Mr. PharmD
Performance by Ladino Rockstar, Sara Aroeste
Thu
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Last Day to Drop a Spring 2014 Course
LNFS presents Boogie Nights
Car-Free Day
What Are They? Some Hidden Forms of the Copula in Old Irish
UK Men's Tennis vs. South Carolina
UK Baseball vs. Missouri
LNFS presents Loose Cannons
Fri
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
Arboretum Volunteer Training and Orientation
Taste of Africa
Dramatic Presentation -"Las Voces de los Apalaches"
Swing Dancing!
Sat
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UK Baseball vs. Missouri
UK Men's Golf Bluegrass Invitational
UK Men's Tennis vs. Florida
UK Men's Tennis vs. Murray State
Sun
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Therapeutic Chair Massage
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Superheroes On and Off the Page
Parenting Connection Group
Farmer's MarCat & Craft Fair
Student-Teacher-Student Exhibit
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LNFS presents Blue Velvet
Inequality in the US: Consequences
Reframing Stress: Do You Know Your Choices?
Best Practices for Tree and Shrub Pruning Class 3
Cooking Class: For True Beginners
Pinterest Party #3
Wed
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LNFS presents Anchorman 2
UK Toastmasters
Virtual Dementia Tour
Children at Risk Research Conference Keynote Address: Gender, Sexuality, & Risks for Violence among Young Women and LGBTQ Youth in Urban Communities
OUTspoken: Leaving the Second Closet Behind
LNFS presents Easy Rider
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Children at Risk Graduate Student Research Poster Presenatation
20th Annual Black Women's Conference
Children at Risk Research Conference Speaker: Why Do Home and Neighborhood Issues Become School Safety Nightmares?
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
The Re-enchantment of Photography as a Primanry Geographic Mapping Medium
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
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20th Annual Black Women's Conference
UK Softball vs. Arkansas
UK Track and Field Home meet
Unleash the Beast: Paintball Wars
Sat
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Distinguished Industry Lecture Series, H. Graham Motion and Bruce “Buck” Davidson, Jr.
Mon
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Explore Leadership Workshops
Job Club: Tighten Your Budget after a Job Loss
‘Project Learning Tree’ Workshop for Educators
Drug War Talk by Anthropologist Howard Campbell
Student Sustainability Council Meeting
Tue
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LNFS presents The Lego Movie
Registration Deadline: Weight Loss Matters
Legacy Week: Ping Pong Ball Drop
Health Smart: Mindfulness
Pre-Pharmacy Club Meeting
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and Tree Healthcare Class 4
Shuffle Series: Bluegrass
Wed
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LNFS presents The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
UK Toastmasters
Wellness On Wheels
LNFS presents Juno
Legacy Week: Candlelight Ceremony
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LNFS presents The Brave Little Toaster
Bonfires of Illusions: the Twin Crises of the Liberal World
Arbor Day Volunteer Orientation and Training
Alex Callinicos - "Bonfires of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World
LNFS presents Pariah
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Color Me Spring Fashion Show
Fri
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Legacy Week: Leave Your Legacy
Arbor Day at The Arboretum
UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Sat
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UK Theatre presents "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
UK Wind Symphony Concert
UK Symphony & Concert Band Concert
Sun
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Politics in Mexico Today
Tue
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Relieving Stress Through Your Senses
Tree Identification Class 5
Massage on the Go #3
The Practicing Happiness Workbook - author presentation
Wed
 
 
 
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