MSU celebrating historic land-grant legislation


Mississippi State commemorates a congressional passage of one of the nation's most important pieces of education legislation with a conference Oct. 3-6.

The university's historical investigation of the sesquicentennial land-grant university is called "Thinking Land Grants: A 'Cerebration' of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act" and will take place in buildings across campus.

Organizers said use of the word cerebration in quote marks reflects the program's primary goal: an examination and discussion of all aspects and dimensions of the Morrill Act.

History department head and event organizer Alan Marcus said by opening higher education to a great segment of American society, the Morrill Act laid the framework for the knowledge society the U.S. has become.

It changed the face of education in America, including making higher education more accessible to those not from wealthy families. It also gave the states the opportunity to decide exactly what form each of their land grant colleges and universities would take.

"The Morrill Act has been and remains a monumental act, breathtaking in scope of how it has been applied and what it has accomplished," Marcus said.

Two volumes of scholarly inquiry later will be published from research papers presented during the four-day event.

Among other activities, the schedule also includes:

--An address on the 3rd by M. Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and former Michigan State University president;

-- A speech on the 4th by Lee Sommers, Colorado State University professor and chair of the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy;

-- A talk on the afternoon of the 4th by Carolyn B. Brooks, executive director of the Association of Research Directors of 1890 Land Grant Universities;

--A presentation on the 5th by Walter Buchanan, Texas A&M professor and president of the American Society for Engineering Education; and

-- Several papers devoted to the history of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Known popularly by the acronym MAFES, the organization operates an MSU-based statewide laboratory, as well as four research and extension centers and 16 branch stations located throughout the state.

For additional information, go to

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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