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

 

original_college_building_at_woodland_park_am.__classroom_building_at_woodlands..jpgearly_view_of_college.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 02
Internship Info Session 09/02/2014
Reset Page