1862 and 1890 Land-Grand Institutions
Greensboro, NC: In North Carolina's bustling atmosphere
of higher education and technology development, it's sometimes easy to
overlook the influence that agriculture and the state's two land-grant
institutions have had on North Carolina history.
"Many people aren't completely aware of the missions of land-grant
institutions," explains Dr. Daniel D. Godfrey, dean of North Carolina
A&T State University's School of Agriculture. "When you explain
that two land-grant institutions exist in the same state, the issue becomes
even more complex."
Land-grant institutions have their beginnings in
the Morrill Act of 1862. They take their name from the fact that governments
granted states land to establish institutions of higher education, specifically
institutions that teach agriculture and the mechanical arts.
The traditional land-grant mission focuses on three
areas: teaching, research and extension.
"Teaching students on our campus is only part
of what a land-grant institution does," said Godfrey. "We are
also committed to supporting the agricultural and life science fields
with research, and we are committed to extending research-based information
and educational programs to the state's citizens through North Carolina
All 50 states, and the District of Columbia, Puerto
Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam, have at least one land-grant university
with the three-part mission.
Seventeen southeastern states are unique in that
they are home to two land grant institutions. The 1890 institutions, named
for the year legislation creating them was enacted, are historically black.
North Carolina A&T State University and other
1890 land-grant institutions were created by the Second Morrill Act, in
1890, which expanded the system of land-grant universities to include
an historically black institution in those states where segregation denied
minorities access to the land-grant institution established by the First
Morrill Act, in 1862.
Today NC A&T works closely with the state's 1862
land-grant institution, North Carolina State University, and beyond the
state's borders with other land grant institutions.
"Land-grant institutions like A&T and NC
State began as agricultural schools, but as agriculture and society have
evolved, so too has the mission of the land-grant institution," said
Godfrey. "We are now called upon to come together to address larger
issues that require the involvement of several institutions."
Now, instead of directing the majority of its curricula
toward teaching students about production agriculture, faculty at land-grant
institutions guide students in such fields as landscape architecture,
fashion design and agricultural engineering.
Research efforts range from international trade to
the causes of birth defects, while Cooperative Extension has added such
areas as youth development and consumer education to its docket of production
agriculture and marketing.
Still, in spite of its diverse nature, the commitment
of land-grant institutions to the state's citizens remains unchanged.
"Having two land-grant institutions in the same
state is a tremendous benefit to North Carolina," said Godfrey. "By
working closely with NC State, we ensure that every issue is addressed,
and by focusing on different segments of the state's population, we ensure
that the state's underserved limited-resource population is not overlooked."