Events wrap up with a forum 1 p.m. Monday, August 31
Florida A&M University joins the nation’s 1890 universities this week for the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated them as land-grant institutions.
The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in states such as Florida, where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The week of events runs through Aug. 31.
With very little investment, the 1890 schools educate nearly 100,000 students annually, contribute more than $4.4 billion to the local economies, and provide pathways of opportunity for thousands of Americans.
FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said HBCUs have been under-funded and remain a largely untapped source of talent.
“Unless the potential at historically Black colleges and universities is utilized, the nation’s path to equity and technology and everything else is likely to come to a dead end. Where better to go to find talented individuals needed to bridge the gaps that our society faces than at historically Black colleges and universities,” said Robinson. Still FAMU and other HBCUs have had a tremendous impact, he said. “We have contributed to the overall well-being of this nation. I’m most proud of that and we continue to do that in 2020.”
Earlier this year, the FAMU College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) received $752,632 in federal funds for scholarships to attract high achieving students. Some of those students are featured in a CAFS-produced video for the anniversary.
This funding will help CAFS cultivate and graduate more diverse leaders, who will be well equipped to address and solve future emerging challenges in food and agricultural sciences, said Dean Robert Taylor, Ph.D.
“With this Scholarship funding, CAFS is in a much better position to attract scholars into its food and agricultural sciences academic programs, who will then be able to go into careers that will pay them much higher wages,” Taylor said.
The week of events celebration will culminate with a two-hour online forum on Monday, August 31 from 1-3 p.m. EDT.
During the event, higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will join in an online celebration of the 1890 land-grant universities anniversary, that will explore the history and accomplishments of these institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. The forum is open to the public, who can register here.
The webinar will have two panel discussions. One panel will feature Makola Abdullah, Ph.D., president of Virginia State University, Heidi Anderson, Ph.D, president of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore; Paul Jones, Ph.D., president of Fort Valley State University; and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.
The webinar will also feature remarks from Rep. Alma Adams, D-N.C., chair of the House Agriculture Committee; Rep. David Scott, D-Georgia, a FAMU alumnus and lead sponsor of the 1890 Scholarship Program; and Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Georgia, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Scott Hutchins, deputy undersecretary of agriculture for research, education, and economics.
The first and the second renditions of the Morrill Act allowed for underserved population to have access to traditional and vocational education and changed the trajectory of generations, said Nashid Madyun, Ph.D., director of the FAMU Meek-Eaton Archives.
“Had it not been for the establishment of these schools, the HBCU system and the leadership that came from them would have been lost for generations,” Madyun said.
After 130 years, 19 universities 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.
In addition to FAMU, the 1890 land-grant universities include Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State 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.