Panel to discuss the Land Grant Act at 150

August 22, 2012

As Pennsylvania’s Land Grant institution, Penn State has a distinguished history of educational service to the Commonwealth. The public is invited to a panel discussion on "The Land Grant Act at 150: An Historical Perspective," from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, in the Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. The discussion will focus on the educational legacy of Evan Pugh and George Atherton, the Penn State pioneers of Land Grant education.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act on July 2, 1862. The act authorized states to sell federal land scrip in order to establish an endowment to support one or more schools in their states where:

“…the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanic arts (engineering)…in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in several pursuits and professions of life.”

The speakers will include:
-- Roger Geiger, Penn State distinguished professor of higher education, who will discuss the overall impact of the 1862 Land Grant Act;
-- Kristen Yarmey, University of Scranton digital services librarian, who will discuss Evan Pugh’s role in the establishment of Penn State as Pennsylvania’s Land Grant institution; and
-- Roger Williams, Penn State executive director of the Alumni Association, who will discuss the role George Atherton played in the development of the second Land Grant Act in 1890.

This panel discussion complements an exhibition currently on display in the Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library, titled "The Land Grant Act at 150."

For more information or to inquire about needed accommodations, contact Jackie R. Esposito at or 814-865-1793.

  • Evan Pugh, Penn State’s first president (1859-1864), was instrumental in convincing the Commonwealth to designate Penn State as the Land Grant institution.

    IMAGE: University Archives
Last Updated January 09, 2015