THE MODERN-DAY LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY

THE MODERN-DAY LAND-GRANT UNIVERSITY

Teach agriculture, military tactics, science, and the mechanic arts as well as classical studies so members of the working classes could obtain a liberal, practical education.

That was the original goal of the land-grant colleges, as proposed by Vermont Sen. Justin Smith Morrill and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862. Morrill and Lincoln wanted to make higher education available to all Americans, not just the elite.

That model created land-grant colleges in every state, including Colorado State University, which was founded in 1870 – six years before Colorado was granted statehood.

So, how to define the modern land-grant university? Look no further than Colorado State.

World-renowned programs in agriculture, engineering, veterinary medicine, chemistry, biology, and many others have established the University as an international academic and research leader. And CSU has offered military training from its inception, and still offers robust Army and Air Force ROTC programs, as well as outreach through Extension offices around Colorado.

As for providing access to all citizens, CSU has taken the lead there too. Programs such as the First Generation Scholarships (first established here), Alliance Partnership, and the Community for Excellence work to make sure every qualified student has access to a CSU education.

CSU, too, has taken groundbreaking steps to make sure students not only have access to higher education but successfully progress toward a degree – without the burden of crushing debt.

Morrill or Lincoln never imagined such things as the University’s highly regarded computer science program, or the new virtual reality initiative. And it’s a sure bet they would be surprised to see so many women in leadership positions – a priority for CSU.

The campus is not just for Colorado, but the world. International students have added a global perspective, while CSU scientists are leaving their mark in places such as Antarctica, Mongolia, Nepal – even into space.

In the end, the modern-day land-grant is much different from the original design, but it’s still much the same. One has to believe Morrill would be proud of what he helped create here – and beyond.

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