Cornell University has been New York State’s Land-Grant institution from its very inception, and today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act, widely considered the most important and influential piece of legislation dealing with higher education in American history.
The Cornell University Library celebrates this historic event with an exhibit, Senator Justin S. Morrill, the Land-Grant College Act and Cornell: Opening the Doors of Education to “Any Person” that is now on display in multiple locations in Olin and Uris Libraries and also available as an online exhibit. This is the first in a series of exhibits that will explore Cornell’s pre-history and focus attention on the people and events that led to its founding on April 15, 1865.
Our exhibit reflects on Morrill’s influence on Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White—as their thoughts about creating an agricultural college evolved into something much bigger—and on the tributes Cornell has paid to Senator Morrill. Not only is the oldest building in the Arts Quad named for him, the Cornell Board of Trustees also commissioned a special portrait be painted of him “as a tribute of honor and respect to a national benefactor.” That portrait is on public display in the Class of ’57 – Kinkeldey Room of Uris Library.
When you step into Uris Library, you step into history. Come explore.
Joe Wilensky, “Portrait of Justin Smith Morrill pays tribute to Land Grant Act’s sponsor” Cornell Chronicle Online. June 28, 2012.
Daniel Mansoor, “Cornell’s first sesquicentennial event: The Morrill Land Grant Act turns 150” Cornell Chronicle Online. June 28, 2012