UT Martin to celebrate 150 years of Morrill Act

UT Martin to celebrate 150 years of Morrill Act

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:00 pm

The Messenger 09.19.12

The University of Tennessee at Martin will mark 150 years of the Morrill Act with a display honoring agricultural progress and research outside Paul Meek Library Oct. 4-5.
The outdoor display will include agricultural equipment in 50-year increments, demonstrating how far agricultural methods and research have come in the past 150 years. The display will end with a look at the future of land grant research, featuring the Living Light House display inside the Paul Meek Library.
The celebration will include a one-hour lecture from James Rose, architecture professor at the University of Tennessee, on Oct. 1. Rose will discuss the display prototype, the 2011 Solar Decathlon, and the solar and sustainable energy concepts currently present in the House of Representatives.
Dr. Jerry Gresham, interim dean of the UT Martin College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, said the exhibit will show “where we’ve been in the last 150 years and where we could go in the next 150 years.”
The Morrill Act, signed into law in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, provided each state with 30,000 acres of federal land for each congressional delegate. The land was to be sold and the proceeds used to create affordable colleges that would teach applied sciences, such as agriculture, engineering and home economics, in addition to the classical arts.
These institutions, also known as “land grant institutions,” made widespread instruction on mass food and fiber production possible. The proper education of farmers allowed future generations to move away from the farm and aspire to non-agricultural careers. The UT system was founded by land grants from the Morrill Act.
In 1870, 70 to 80 percent of the United States’ population was employed in agriculture; today, that number has dropped to less than 1 percent.
For more information about the Morrill Act celebration, contact Gresham at (731) 881-7251 or by email at jgresham@utm.edu.

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