A UMD Celebration 150 Years In The Making
Posted at: 07/18/2012 1:56 PM
| Updated at: 07/18/2012 7:52 PM
By: Brittany Falkers
In 1862, the Morrill Act provided each state with 30,000 acres of federal land to set up colleges, ultimately leading to the public university system system. Then President Abraham Lincoln signed many acts that year and this one has had a long lasting, and evolving, impact of students across the country.
That is why on Wednesday, July 18 the University of Minnesota faculty and staff celebrated its 150th anniversary.
"It was very important because at the time on the upper class could get an education because of the cost of education and this was a chance for higher education to be brought to people who weren't in the upper-class. To have an education across the entire country," Andrea Schokker, Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at UMD said
UMD is just one of these land grant schools. Tuesday, they celebrated with a barbeque which included a speech from the chancellor and a theatrical appearance by president Lincoln. Okay, so it was a student dressed as Lincoln, but a Lincoln just the same.
"It's hard to think about what we'd be without the Morrill Act," Schokker said. "So many of our students come from non-upper-class backgrounds and really have the potential and the ability to do the things we see happening with science and technology and liberal education and our leadership."
While a college education doesn't come cheap, Schokker says without the Morrill Act, many of those who attend college today, would never have had that chance.
Tim Swanson is a senior at UMD. he benefits from the core values of the Morrill Act daily.
"I don't think state schools would have been an option, just private schools, very expensive, and just for the wealthiest people," Swanson said. "There wouldn't be a lot of opportunity for normal citizens."
The ideals of the Morrill Act have evolved over the past 150 years, but the main goal remains the same. To provide all social classes with real world education for the betterment of all.
"We celebrate our ongoing commitments to diversity, equity, and access to all students," Chancellor Lendley Black said in his speech at the event.
Students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities will celebrate the anniversary on Friday. Governor Mark Dayton has declared July 20 as "University of Minnesota Land Grant Sesquicentennial Day." Other Land Grand Universities will be celebrating the 150th anniversary throughout the rest of the year.