Friday, January 31, 2014

History of the Land Grant Mission

In class on Thursday, it became apparent that not everyone is familiar with the fact that Penn State is a Land Grant Institution.
Historical Marker located near Ag Admin Building

In fact, Penn State was one of the first land grant universities in the nation and was the first to award degrees in agriculture.

Land Grants were established by the Morrill Act of 1862 to provide opportunity for the common man to have access to education on agricultural, mechanics and military science. Recently, Land Grant Universities celebrated 150 years.

Other significant pieces of legislation that impacted the missions of these institutions include:

  • The Hatch Act of 1887 - Established Ag Experiment Stations
  • The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 - Created Cooperative Extension Service.

Today, Land Grants have a mandated tripartite mission of Teaching, Research and extension/outreach.

To learn more about the history of the Land Grant, visit this pdf from the Association of Public Land Grant Universities (APLU):

To learn more about US extension, visit this site of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA):

To learn more about extension in Pennsylvania:

Here is a 3:00 minute video about the History of Land Grant Universities in Pennsylvania:

Here is a 10:00 minute video from APLU about the Sesquicentennial Anniversary (Great watch): 

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