MSU honors landmark legislation’s anniversary

From Press Reports

Mississippi State University is the result of historic legislation passed 150 years ago during the Civil War, and the state’s land-grant institution will mark the anniversary with activities throughout the year. MSU assistant history professor James Giesen will present “History of the Morrill Act: The Mississippi Perspective” during a March 29 public event at the university. To begin at 3 p.m. in Thompson Hall’s Tully Auditorium, the program is the inaugural spring seminar of Gamma Sigma Delta. A reception follows at the location. Gamma Sigma Delta is the international honor society of agriculture. Chartered in early 1964, the MSU chapter is among nearly 60 located around the world. Giesen directs MSU’s Center for the History of Agriculture, Science and the Environment of the South. He also serves as the executive secretary of the national Agricultural History Society. His presentation coincides with the yearlong observance of the Morrill Act — the landmark legislation passed by Congress in 1862 that established the nation’s land-grant university system that includes MSU. This summer, three MSU colleges — agriculture and life sciences, engineering and veterinary medicine — will be represented in Washington for the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival celebration of the Morrill Act’s sesquicentennial. In October, MSU also will sponsor “Thinking Land-Grants: A ‘Cerebration’ of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act,” an examination and discussion of all aspects and dimensions of the Morrill Act.

Campus faculty will be joined by colleagues from Purdue and Cornell universities to explore the act’s meaning and consequences.