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July 2, 2018

Land-Grant Roots

MSU revolutionized higher education with the signing of the Morrill Act

More than 160 years ago, Michigan State University pioneered a bold experiment that revolutionized higher education.

In 1855, the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, now known as Michigan State, was founded to provide a practical education to all citizens regardless of social class. It was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture.

The U.S. needed more institutions like MSU during the mid-19th century to educate its people to become farmers, engineers, educators and scientists—those who would help build a strong nation. On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, allowing for the creation of land-grant colleges. MSU is the nation’s pioneer land-grant university and the model for this land-grant system across the country.

Today, true to MSU’s land-grant mission and its position as a top global research university, Spartans work to advance the common good with an uncommon will.