Session S3a (Sunday, 2-5pm, Paterno 104)

P16: George W. Atherton and the 2nd Morrill Act of 1890

Roger Williams (Pennsylvania State University, USA)

The original Morrill Act of 1862 provided grants of land that could be sold to fund the creation and support of public colleges but did not provide any direct grants of cash. It also had no requirement that the institutions that benefited from the land grants enroll students of color.  George Atherton, the 7th President of Penn State was very involved in the campaign to convince the federal government to supply additional funding in the form of direct cash grants to the colleges.  He was a prime mover in the campaign to pass the Hatch Act of 1887 which encouraged the establishment of agricultural experimental stations at the Land Grant colleges and also in the campaign to pass the Morrill Act of 1890, which provided annual appropriations to land-grant colleges for a wide range of academic programs.  The 1890 Act also required states that accepted these grants to either enroll African-American students at the original land grant school or to create a second institution that would accept them.   This stipulation was a sop to the segregationist Southern states, which uniformly chose to establish separate schools for Blacks rather than integrate.

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