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3/20/12 - University announces Morrill Act conference in October

Mississippi State is beginning preparation to commemorate later this year congressional passage of one of the nation's most important pieces of education legislation.

To be observed Oct. 3-6, the university's historical investigation of the sesquicentennial land-grant university system will be free and open to all. "Thinking Land Grants: A 'Cerebration' of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act" is the event's title.

Organizers said use of the word cerebration in quote marks reflects the program's primary goal: an examination and discussion of all aspects and dimensions of the Morrill Act.

History department faculty members Alison Greene, Mark Hersey and Erinn McComb, along with Michael Ballard, MSU's archivist and historian, will join with land-grant faculty colleagues from Purdue and Cornell universities to explore the act's meaning and consequences.

Two volumes of scholarly inquiry later will be published from research papers presented during the three-day event.

Among other activities, the schedule also includes:

--An address on the 3rd by Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and former Michigan State University president;

-- A speech on the 4th by Lee Sommers, Colorado State University professor and chair of the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy;

--A presentation on the 5th by Walter Buchanan, Texas A&M professor and president of the American Society for Engineering Education; and

--A special session devoted to the history of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. Known popularly by the acronym MAFES, the organization operates an MSU-based statewide laboratory, as well as four research and extension centers and 16 branch stations located throughout the state.

Specific times and locations will be announced later.

For additional information, contact MSU history department head Alan Marcus at 662-325-3604 or

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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