West Virginia University’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Land-Grant Act will continue with a day of fun, food and fascinating facts about the University’s multifaceted mission. WVU, the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design and the WVU Extension Service will host a Family Day at the Farm from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at WVU’s Animal Science Farm on Stewartstown Road.
The Family Day will feature a wide range of activities and exhibits covering everything from 150 years of fashion to animal ultrasound to forest stewardship. Organizers have arranged plenty of activities for kids of all ages, from jewelry making to insect origami.
Demonstrations featuring sheep shearing, flower arranging, the WVU Woodsmen Team and the trusty canines of WVU’s Service Dog Training Course will take place throughout the event. WVU Dining Services and the Human Nutrition and Foods and Food Science and Technology programs have collaborated on a tasty, healthy snack menu for guests, and the Falling Run Bluegrass Band will perform.
All students, parents, faculty, staff and members of the Morgantown community are welcome to attend. Space is limited, so organizers ask that those planning to attend pre-register at http://simpleforms.scripts.wvu.edu/sf/FamilyDayattheWVUFarmReg/. Persons with disabilities may request accommodations through the Office of Disability Services at 304-293-6700.
“The Animal Science Farm is an ideal setting for a celebration of the Land-Grant Act, as it fulfills all of the core mission areas established by that revolutionary legislation,” said Rudolph Almasy, interim dean of the Davis College.
“It’s a critical setting for teaching in a variety of disciplines, serves as a living laboratory for essential research, and hosts a wide variety of outreach activities, from training for industry professionals to tours for thousands of area schoolchildren,” Almasy continued.
“Every day, in every West Virginia county, WVU Extension works to connect the knowledge and research of the University with communities and people of our state,” said Steve Bonanno, interim director of the WVU Extension Service. “Focusing on youth, family, farms, health and community our mission is our passion, and we’re pleased be part of this fun and educational day in Morgantown.”
WVU’s land-grant events on campus will run until 2013.
Before the introduction of the land-grant institution, higher education was viewed as an elite enterprise exclusive only to wealthy white males.
The Morrill Act knocked down those barriers. It granted each state 30,000 acres of land for each member it had in Congress, with the land and gross proceeds used to fund educational institutions focused on agriculture, engineering and other subjects.
A college education became more affordable and accessible to a broader scope of folks, including the working class. Unlike existing higher education institutions, land-grant universities reached out to improve communities and made their research widely available. All the while, land-grant institutions tried to maintain the level of research quality expected at their private or Ivy League counterparts.
The state of West Virginia didn’t exist until 1863, a year after the Act’s passage. In 1866, state Sen. William Price, of Monongalia County, introduced a bill offering the properties of Monongalia Academy and Woodburn Seminary to start a new college, the Agricultural College of West Virginia, which became officially known as West Virginia University in 1868.
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