Land-grant roots Ďpoint of prideí
WSU joins nation in celebrating Morrill Actís 150th
PULLMAN, Wash. Ė It has been 150 years since President Abraham Lincoln created the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a nationwide system of higher education institutions geared to provide science to the people. On July 2, 1862, in the throes of the Civil War, he signed the Morrill Act to create the public land-grant university system.
As the nation celebrates those milestones in Washington D.C. and from coast to coast, WSU Ė the land-grant university in the state of Washington Ė will celebrate as well. A series of events begins June 27 at the Smithsonian Institute Folk Festival on the national mall and continues through the summer and fall with celebrations on the Pullman campus as well as at each of WSUís research and extension centers.
"Providing the general public with access to the latest scientific knowledge and education helped to shape our nation,Ē said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. "The Morrill Act empowered the American people with the tools and technological advances they needed to prosper 150 years ago, and continues to do so today. WSU is very proud of its land-grant roots.Ē
Dan Bernardo, WSU vice president for agriculture and extension, agreed.
"WSU continues to provide growers, business owners and communities with cutting edge science and technology in every county of Washington State and at our four research and extension centers,Ē he said. "It is a particular point of pride that we are one of the most widely dispersed universities in the country in terms of serving people where they live."
WSU was one of a handful of land-grant institutions invited to participate in the Smithsonian Institute Folklife Festival June 27 Ė July 8. The universityís exhibit is entitled "Feed the World. Power the Planet.Ē and focuses primarily on non-food sources of biofuels as well as WSUís nationally known plant sciences program. Young people visiting the exhibit will have the opportunity to participate in a hands-on DNA extraction experiment as part of a larger discussion about plant breeding.
Parts of that exhibit will be on display on the Pullman campus over Homecoming Weekend, Sept. 21 Ė 23 as part of the All-College Reunion for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences. It also will become part of a traveling exhibit that will be on display at WSUís research and extension centers at Mount Vernon, Puyallup, Wenatchee and Prosser; dates for those Morrill Act celebrations are to be determined.
The Morrill Act funded educational institutions by literally granting federally controlled land to the states to develop "land-grantĒ colleges. The act spelled out what those colleges would emphasize Ė the teaching of practical agriculture, science and engineeringÖĒ Historically, higher education had traditionally focused on a more abstract liberal arts curriculum and was not readily accessible to the general public.
Kathy Barnard, Marketing, News, and Educational Communications, CAHNRS, 509-335-2806, firstname.lastname@example.org