UF’s CALS, engineering and military science students tackle future of land grant universities

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As part of a yearlong celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, legislation that created land-grant universities in the United States, a group of University of Florida students will turn their attention to the future mission of land-grant universities.

The Jan. 31 event is called “Leadership and the Morrill Act: A 19th Century Initiative with 21st Century Implications.”

The Morrill Act was signed by President Abraham Lincoln in July 1862. Under the act, U.S. states in the U.S. were offered large tracts of land by the federal government to sell, and the proceeds then used to build public universities. Subjects to be taught at those universities had to include agricultural sciences, engineering (known then as the “mechanic arts”) and military tactics – opening higher education to the middle class like never before.

In honor of this three-part mandate, UF’s Colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of Military Sciences will all participate in the event, to be held at the Straughn IFAS Extension Professional Development Center on the UF campus.

There will be a panel of experts from the three areas who will discuss leadership for this century. The panel is set to include: Pegeen Hanrahan, a two-term Gainesville mayor and UF engineering graduate; Brian Holloway, program manager for the U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and UF mechanical engineering graduate; Mike Joyner, a UF CALS alumnus and assistant commissioner for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; and David Kratzer, UF’s vice president for student affairs, who retired from the U.S. Army in 2006 with the rank of Major General after serving as a Commanding General in both Afghanistan and Kuwait/Iraq.

After the panel discussion, participants will work in groups on a case study that integrates elements from across all three areas, and discuss the future of global leadership.

The event, which begins at 4:15 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m., is one of several being held in Gainesville and around the state to commemorate the Morrill Act anniversary.

Students may still register for the event at http://leadershipandthemorrillact.eventbrite.com

The Straughn center is at 2142 Shealy Drive, near the UF veterinary college.

There is a campuswide symposium scheduled for early April, during which UF/IFAS faculty and others will examine the future of public higher education that was launched in the U.S. by the Morrill Act and land-grant institutions. Today, the land-grant system includes 107 institutions in all 50 states and several U.S. territories.

Contacts

Writer:  Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566, mickiea@ufl.edu

Source: Charlotte Emerson, 352-273-3575, cemer@ufl.edu