Articles tagged as: Morrill Act
From its humble beginnings in 1876 on the prairies of Central Texas, Texas A&M University has been conducting research that is changing the world and affecting life on every continent.
The Morrill Act of 1862 was a big first step by providing means in which states could sell off public tracts of lands and use the proceeds to establish universities. These land-grant universities would go on to become world leaders in research. Today, the nation’s 74 land-grant universities — included among them Texas A&M — are world leaders in producing research that is literally life-changing.
“Without question, Texas A&M is one of the nation’s leading research institutions,” says President R. Bowen Loftin.
“Inquiry and discovery are at the heart of who we are as a research university, and involve not only our faculty, but also our undergraduate and graduate students. Texas A&M’s research expenditures of more than $700 million are annually among the largest of any U.S. university, and as one of a select few land-, sea- and space-grant universities, we conduct research that affects every form of human endeavor.”
Not long after Texas A&M first opened its doors, the Hatch Act was passed in 1887 that created the Agricultural Experiment Station, known today as the Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Research within the A&M System agency has been nothing short of amazing — touching every aspect of life for all Texans and beyond.
In 1914, several key developments began that provided a big boost to Texas A&M research. The Smith-Lever Act created the Agricultural Extension Services, which led to the creation of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Also that year, the Texas A&M Forest Service and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station – now all members of the A&M System – were established to provide more outreach for transfer of engineering knowledge and expertise to the state’s residents.
A year later, a truly historic event occurred for the state when Texas A&M’s School of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1915. Today, known as the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, the college is the only such veterinary school in the state and one of the world’s largest with a reputation to match. “Aggie vets” are hired by industry, the military, and homeland security and are used in private practice to provide the finest veterinary care in the world. Mark Francis was named the college’s first veterinary dean in 1916, and he led a team of researchers that were pioneers in creating animal immunizations that eradicated Texas Tick Fever, which was critical to the rapid development of Texas’ huge livestock industry.
More key milestones occurred. In 1919, the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service was created, charged with “developing a highly skilled workforce through technical and vocational training,” and in the 1930s, as the Dust Bowl ravaged through the Midwest, Texas A&M’s extension agencies in agriculture and engineering were used in maintain water and soil conservation, crop rotation and range management.
By the 1940s, Texas A&M was awarding doctoral degrees in agriculture and engineering, a legacy that continues today: the Dwight Look College of Engineering currently is ranked No. 8 nationally among all engineering schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is among the nation’s largest and most prestigious.
In 1950, with Texas’ population growing and more vehicles on the road, the state created the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) to meet the new challenges of the region’s transportation system. Today, research at TTI extends to all corners of the world, including vehicle emission studies to highway safety and acclaimed research in traffic congestion.
Also, in 1950, the U.S. Congress approved creation of the National Science Foundation, a vast agency to improve and widen virtually every aspect of mankind’s existence and to provide funding for universities for further scientific exploration. Texas A&M has been a key player in a wide range of NSF projects, and today, NSF remains the largest funding source for research at the university.
Gen. James Earl Rudder was named Texas A&M’s 16th president in 1959, and he laid the groundwork for the school to become the Tier 1 research institution it is today by improving academic and faculty standards and expanding its research goals and stature. By 1963, Texas A&M gained university status and officially became Texas A&M University.
During the 1960s, Texas A&M’s space research became greatly enhanced with then-President John F. Kennedy’s goal to put a man on the moon, and key contracts were awarded to the university for space engineering. Also about that time, Texas A&M was awarded $3 million by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission to construct a cyclotron, which in turn created the Nuclear Science Center on campus. The university went on to award the first nuclear engineering degree in the Southwest.
In 1971, Texas A&M took another huge step by becoming one of the country’s first Sea Grant Colleges, paving the way for the establishment of Texas A&M University at Galveston, which is considered the school’s “campus by the sea.” In conjunction with the Texas Maritime Academy, Texas A&M at Galveston has produced thousands of Sea Aggies who are employed by cruise lines, shipping companies and the energy sector, and marine-oriented research has produced landmark discoveries in sea life, hurricane and storm surge protection methods and beach erosion studies.
More milestones: In 1981, research expenditures topped $100 million for the first time, and Texas A&M became part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program in 1985. In 1989, Texas A&M received space grant status from NASA, beginning at long-standing affiliation with the space agency that continues to this day. Today, Texas A&M is one of only 17 institutions in the country to hold the triple designation as a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant university.
By the 1990s, Texas A&M had surpassed $300 million in research expenditures (1992) and in 1997, the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened to promote discussion and research in the American political system.
In 1999, the Texas A&M Health Science Center opened, and today it prepares hundreds of Aggies each year to enter the medical, nursing and health science fields. In 2000, Texas A&M became a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), comprising the top 62 leading public and private universities in the country put the school “on the leading edge of innovation, scholarship and solutions that contribute to the nation’s economy, security and well-being,” according to its charter in the group.
A major breakthrough in research occurred in 2001 when Texas A&M successfully cloned the first domestic animal — a cat named CC for “carbon copy.” Since then, the university has become an international leader in cloning and was the first to clone a deer, horse, pigs, cattle and others.
In 2003, Texas A&M University at Qatar was established to bring engineering programs and much-needed research to the Gulf Region by establishing a branch campus at Education City in Doha. Today, Education City is a multi-university campus of 2,400 acres housing several American universities.
In 2004, the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory was selected to be part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and also that year the school joined a consortium of universities to build the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile that will be the most powerful telescope ever constructed, enabling new discoveries across the universe. Also in 2004, the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD) was established at Texas A&M as part of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, focusing on animal diseases and their possible transfer of diseases to humans.
More breakthroughs continued as the decade continued, including in 2006 when researchers completed the first conversion of a nuclear reactor from using highly enriched uranium. And in 2007, research expenditures at Texas A&M topped $500 million for the first time. The coming years also showered national rankings on the university, its colleges and academic programs.
In 2012, research at Texas A&M garnered international headlines as the school was awarded a $285.6 million contract to establish the Texas A&M Center for Innovation to help the nation’s emergency preparedness against emerging infectious diseases, including pandemic influenza and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. The purpose of the Center for Innovation is to perform research and advanced development to accelerate vaccines and other medical products through pre-clinical and clinical development and to produce these products in cases of pandemics or other national emergencies.
By 2013, research expenditures had reached $705 million at Texas A&M, and the school — by any measure and any standard — has become one of the world’s leading research institutions.
About 12 Impacts of the 12th Man: 12 Impacts of the 12th Man is an ongoing series throughout the year highlighting the significant contributions of Texas A&M University students, faculty, staff and former students on their community, state, nation and world. To learn more about the series and see additional impacts, visit http://12thman.tamu.edu/.
The record books will mark Texas A&M’s trip to Starkville, Miss., this weekend to meet the Mississippi State University Bulldogs as a historical one, but this won’t be the first time the two schools have made history together. Their last meeting in football is acknowledged as arguably one of the most memorable bowl games ever.
A freak snowstorm in Shreveport, La., during the 2000 Independence Bowl caused the game to become an instant classic and is now commonly referred to as the “Snow Bowl.” Though fans are excited for a top 20 matchup between now fellow Southeastern Conference members No. 16 Texas A&M and No. 15 Mississippi State on the gridiron, the game also symbolically links two universities that share almost parallel histories, heritages and more.
Both Texas A&M and Mississippi State were established as land-grant colleges once Congress passed the Morrill Act of 1862, as the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas and the Agricultural & Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (also known as Mississippi A&M), respectively. In fact, Mississippi State students were originally called Aggies, then Maroons, before officially becoming the Bulldogs in the 1960s.
Texas A&M and Mississippi State have continued to uphold their land-grant mission, as both institutions are dedicated to serving their states and countries in areas such as transportation, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture, and more.
The two institutions also have similar cultures, even past the most visible similarity: Texas A&M and Mississippi State have the same school colors of maroon and white.
For example, Texas A&M’s Reveille will be in the company of another live mascot in Starkville: Bully, Mississippi State’s English Bulldog, faithfully attends every home game at Davis Wade Stadium, just like Reveille. Texas A&M fans are also accustomed to waving a sea of white 12th Man towels at Kyle Field, but this weekend they’ll see — or rather hear — a unique Mississippi State tradition: the cowbell. Bulldog fans faithfully bring their maroon and white cowbells to each home game and use the “artificial noisemakers” to celebrate throughout the game.
“The cowbells can get quite loud and annoying, depending on which team you are pulling for, of course,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications and a Mississippi State alumnus. “But Aggies will find Mississippi State fans to be among the most hospitable in the SEC. Mississippi State is commonly referred to as the “people’s university” — a nod to the institution’s land-grant heritage that it shares with Texas A&M. I have always viewed Mississippi State as a ‘mini Texas A&M’ due to the many similarities between the two schools, particularly relating to academic programs, overall culture and historic origins.”
Other athletic ties between Texas A&M and Mississippi State include football coaches Jackie Sherrill and the late Emory Bellard, who both coached the Aggies and Bulldogs, as well as Vic Schaeffer, Mississippi State’s current women’s basketball coach who helped lead Texas A&M to the 2011 national championship as associate head coach with the Aggies.
Cook advises Aggies attending the game to wear maroon, as Mississippi State will be commemorating the “Snow Bowl” by having the team wear white uniforms and encouraging Bulldog fans to wear white as well.
Look for this Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes, which will feature academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645
When the Texas A&M football team takes to the road this weekend to meet the Auburn University Tigers and begin a three-week stint of SEC games away from Kyle Field, the first stop will be a historical one: It will mark the first time that the Aggies will play in Auburn, Ala.
While the road trip will go down as a historic matchup for Texas A&M and Auburn on the gridiron — the Aggies and Tigers have met only twice on the playing field, in 1911 and 1985 — it’s also one that brings together two institutions with similar backgrounds and cultures.
Texas A&M and Auburn have a proud land-grant heritage. Both schools were the first land-grant colleges in their respective states and even shared similar names in the early days: Texas A&M’s original name was the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, while Auburn — which was first established in 1856 as the East Alabama Male College — was renamed the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama when it was designated as a land-grant college by the Morrill Act of 1862. Both institutions changed their names to what they are today in the 1960s.
The two universities also share another significant similarity: They are two of a handful of higher education institutions in the country that are designated as land-, sea-, and space-grant universities.
Academic programs at Texas A&M and Auburn share many similarities. For example, both institutions have produced NASA engineers, scientists and astronauts through their various engineering programs. Additionally, Texas A&M and Auburn are recognized as having two of the top agriculture programs in the United States.
Much like Texas A&M, Auburn is steeped in traditions, many of which can trace their origins back to the earliest days of the university’s existence. Auburn is known officially as the Tigers, but visitors to Jordan-Hare Stadium this weekend will witness firsthand the school’s “War Eagle” tradition.
Like the hazy origin of Texas A&M’s Reveille, there are conflicting accounts on how the War Eagle tradition was established at Auburn. The phrase is Auburn’s battle cry: It acts as a term of support for Auburn’s athletic teams, as well as a way to greet a fellow Tiger, like Texas A&M’s “Gig ’em.” More than just a phrase, however, the War Eagle is an actual golden eagle that takes to the skies prior to kickoff of every Auburn home game, circling the stadium and eventually landing in the middle of the field. Aggies at the Texas A&M-Auburn game will watch War Eagle VII — also known as Nova — carry out the time-honored tradition.
Texas A&M and Auburn both like to celebrate their athletic wins in unusual ways. After an Aggie victory, freshmen in the Corps of Cadets capture, carry and then toss the Texas A&M Yell Leaders into Fish Pond. The Yell Leaders will then head to the YMCA Building to lead fans in a short yell practice. Auburn fans prefer to “roll the corner” after a Tiger win. Fans head to Toomer’s Corner to cover two historic oak trees outside of Toomer’s Drugs in toilet paper — a tradition that has grown past only celebrating football victories and has extended to anything good that has happened involving the university.
Aggies will also find that the city of Auburn will feel like home. College Station and Auburn are regularly heralded as top “college towns” in various national rankings. Each city has a reputation for its small-town feel, and each is also located close to major cities in its respective geographic region.
“Out of the 13 other SEC schools, I think Texas A&M and Auburn may be most similar,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “There is a tremendous sense of family and common purpose among Auburn students and graduates, like you will find among Aggies, and Auburn has a great college feel to the campus.”
This Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes will also feature research collaborations and other connections between the two universities.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, (979) 845-4645
It’s been 113 years since the first time the Louisiana State University Tigers crossed the Texas-Louisiana border to play the Aggies at Kyle Field — and on Saturday, LSU will make the journey once again, renewing Texas A&M’s seventh-oldest collegiate football rivalry.
Prior to joining the Southeastern Conference this year, the Aggies have played the Tigers more than any other non-conference opponent. But this longstanding relationship is one that isn’t just defined by records on the football field — it includes academic partnerships, shared commitments of service, cultural similarities and more.
Like Texas A&M, LSU is a land-, sea- and space-grant university that boasts state-of-the-art research facilities. Both universities owe their existence to the Morrill Act of 1862, which established the country’s land-grant college system 150 years ago. Because of their similar missions of service to the states of Texas and Louisiana — as well as their close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico — Texas A&M and LSU researchers have teamed up countless times on collaborative projects that focus on everything from agricultural innovations to coastal protection.
“I can remember making a road trip to LSU while a student at Texas A&M. This is a great rivalry, and we are excited for its renewal as members of the SEC,” said Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin. “While we may be rivals in athletic competition, there are numerous academic collaborations between our two institutions that impact our lives in many ways. Saturday’s football game provides an opportunity for us to spotlight these collaborations and bring greater visibility to the outstanding work of our faculty and staff.”
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the eight veterinary schools in the SEC — the most of any athletic conference in the country. Each veterinary school is also affiliated with an emergency animal response team, further underscoring each institution’s dedication to service.
Faculty, staff and students of LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine volunteer as members of the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), an organization that assists parishes for planning, response and recovery efforts for all types of emergencies involving animals. Most recently, LSART helped animals affected by Hurricane Isaac in late August, opening an emergency pet shelter and rescuing animals in the aftermath of the storm.
Similarly, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences operates the Texas A&M Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), which also protects the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment in times of disaster. Members of VET have responded to numerous disasters, including last year’s Bastrop Complex wildfire, where more than 150 animals — some of which suffered severe injuries — were treated.
Culturally speaking, Texas A&M and LSU have much in common as well. For example, both schools pride themselves on tailgating prior to football games and other athletic events. Visitors to the LSU campus in Baton Rouge will find motor homes, tents and much more set up to create a true Louisiana party atmosphere, and they’ll likely be heckled with chants of “Tiger Bait!” Likewise, Texas A&M fans gather faithfully the day before each game, ready to claim their favorite tailgating spots when the clock strikes noon — and as LSU fans take in Aggieland’s tailgating scene around Spence Park and Reed Arena, they can expect to hear lots of “Howdys!” and “Gig ‘ems!” from Aggie tailgaters.
Texas A&M and LSU are also home to two of the most daunting venues in college football. Tiger Stadium has earned the nickname “Death Valley,” and its gameday atmosphere is legendary for its loud crowd. In fact, the roar of the Tiger Stadium crowd actually registered on a seismograph during a dramatic LSU win over Auburn in 1988. Texas A&M’s Kyle Field is recognized nationally as the Home of the 12th Man — and it’s the 12th Man that has helped Texas A&M earn the distinction as the top gameday experience in the country. The loud, orchestrated yelling of Aggie fans has led to many delay-of-game calls for visiting teams who struggle to communicate over the noise.
“Texas A&M vs. LSU has always been, and will continue to be, a special rivalry – two schools that share a state border and intense competition in athletics, but then work alongside each other to serve their respective states and solve pressing societal issues,” said Jason Cook, Texas A&M’s vice president for marketing and communications. “This is part of our land-grant heritage, of which we are celebrating the 150thanniversary this year along with 10 other SEC members.”
Watch for this Friday’s edition of TAMUtimes, which will feature stories highlighting the academic collaborations and other connections between Texas A&M and LSU.
Media contact: Krista Smith, Communications Coordinator, at (979) 845-4645
Texas A&M University officials discovered that the university has a dual tie to the Morrill Act of 1862, the historic law that led to the establishment of Texas A&M and dozens of other land-grant colleges and universities. Texas A&M graduate Bill Morrill, Class of ’72, is a distant relative of the creator of the Morrill Act, Sen. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, who first proposed the bill to Congress in 1857.
Morrill, the great-great-grand-nephew of the senator, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M and got his Ph.D. in ecological planning at another land-grant school, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His wife, Freddie, is also an Aggie, Class of ’78. The two met in high school and married between Morrill’s bachelor and master studies. Mrs. Morrill came to Texas A&M to study landscape architecture and horticulture.
The Morrill land grants are credited with laying the foundation for the country’s system of state colleges and universities, bringing higher education to millions of citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status. “This is the most important piece of legislation ever passed because it brought higher education to the common man and his children,” says Morrill. “The magnitude of his contribution is beyond description.”
The bill was signed into law on July 2, 1862, by Abraham Lincoln, and this year marks the Morrill Act’s 150th anniversary.
The Morrill Act provided that the federal government grant each state 30,000 acres of public land for each of its senators and representatives in Congress. In turn, the states were charged with using the land to create an endowment to establish and maintain public institutions of higher learning.
These institutions focused on agriculture, mechanics, military tactics and classical studies, allowing access to college education for farmers and other working-class people who may have been previously excluded.
“He was raised in a rural community,” says Morrill of his famous relative. “His dad and granddad were both blacksmiths and he only went as far as a high school education. When he became a U.S. senator, he saw a void in the university system – that it was not accessible to all. So he envisioned a system of university education for the industrial and working classes, and by doing that, we would create leaders in industry, agriculture and military to move the country forward.”
Morrill says that when he looks at Texas A&M, he sees the model of a modern-day land-grant university.
“If I were to take Justin and walk him around the university campus right now, he’d be amazed,” says Morrill. “He couldn’t have envisioned what he created: a diverse student population of almost 50,000; an international impact; experiment and extension services; contributions to the military and to all walks of life; and incredible technical advancements. He’d be amazed, humbled and satisfied. It’s an outstanding example of a land-grant university.”
Morrill recalls that what drew him to Texas A&M as an undergraduate was that it was practical and grounded. “It dealt with the private landowner and the situations he had to face,” he says. “It was an applied education.”
Morrill has used his education to become a biodiversity specialist and project manager, using his expertise in environmental science to consult in international mining operations and other projects in which environmental concerns are a factor.
The Morrill family recently travelled to Washington, D.C., where they participated in the national celebration of the Morrill Act’s sesquicentennial. Their daughter and son, Meghann and Justin Morrill, spoke at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) convocation on June 26. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates was the keynote speaker.
“Senator Morrill will be remembered as a statesman,” notes Morrill. “He was not a man who was doing this to get re-elected or to line his own pockets. He was a man of the people, who liked to just sit down on porches and talk to people about their daily life. He often lamented that he didn’t get any higher education, but his legacy was that he paved the way for millions to receive a university education.”
Media Contact: Lesley Henton, Division of Marketing & Communications at Texas A&M University;
(979) 845-5591; email@example.com