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1890 Universities, Elected Officials, Business & Community Leaders to Celebrate 130th Anniversary of Morrill Act of 1890

August 26, 2020

Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing


This week Tuskegee University and other 1890 land-grant member universities celebrate the 130th anniversary passage of the second Morrill Act. The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of Historically Black Colleges and Universities in states where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The weeklong celebration taking place from now until August 31st will highlight the 19-member 1890 land-grant universities leading in areas of research, world-class education and shaping future generations. 

“Each of the 1890 universities have a longstanding legacy of excellence, dedication, and mission to advancing educational opportunities for African American students,” said President Dr. Lily D. McNair. “And today, our mission and purpose at Tuskegee University still remains the same; to nurture and challenge our students to grow to their fullest potential – this is the principal reason for our existence.” 

After 130 years, the institutions designated as 1890 land-grant universities continue to work together to provide essential research, education, and Extension/public outreach that both sustains U.S. food, fiber and renewable fuel production and addresses the challenges of our time at local, regional, national and global levels. 

During the week of August 24th, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, business and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including on social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges. This week of activities will also include points of pride and/or significant accomplishments for each of the 1890 land-grant universities.     

The celebration will end with a virtual webinar on August 31, 2020 from 1-3 p.m. EDT. The webinar will have two panel discussions. One panel will feature Makola Abdullah, President, Virginia State University; Heidi Anderson, President, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Paul Jones, President Fort Valley State University; and Peter McPherson, President of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The webinar will also feature a second panel with private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, Corporate Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft Corporation; Kellie Adesina, Director, Government Affairs, Bayer U.S. – Crop Science; and Karis Gutter of Corteva Agriscience.  

In addition, the webinar will include remarks from prominent dignitaries such as Scott Hutchins, Deputy Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics; Representatives Alma Adams, Chair of the House Agriculture Committee; David Scott, Lead Sponsor of the 1890 Scholarship Program; and Sanford Bishop, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee;  Sherrod Brown, Co-Lead Sponsor of the 1890 Centers of Excellence. 

The 1890 land-grant universities have a legacy helping to fill a crucial need of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students; enhancing the resilience of limited-resource farmers, families, individuals, and underserved communities; and pioneering the most advanced and advanced education, research, and engagement programs to improve quality of life. The 1890 universities are well-positioned to advance educational opportunities, and today they educate nearly 100,000 students annually, and contribute more than $4.4 billion to the local economies, and provide pathways of opportunity for thousands of Americans.   

The 1890 land-grant universities are a perfect platform for addressing the three interlocking disparities of education, health, and economic prosperity made more evident by the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking ahead, the 1890 institutions plan to focus on these disparities while continuing to play a foundational role in the higher education system and in providing access and enhancing opportunities for all citizens. 

The 1890 land-grant universities are: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tennessee State University, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University. 

© 2020, Tuskegee University