Cornell University will celebrate the sesquicentennial of its founding on April 27, 2015. Its co-founders, Ezra Cornell and Andrew D. White had practical and egalitarian visions of higher education that were shaped and influenced by their colleague, Senator Justin S. Morrill. His “Act Donating Public Lands to the Several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts” was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862. The Morrill Land-Grant Act extended the possibility of attaining a “liberal and practical” education to the masses.
This exhibition reflects on some of the tributes “of gratitude and respect” that Cornell has paid to Senator Morrill. Established as the federal land-grant institution for New York State, Cornell University continues to honor him by remaining dedicated to its land-grant mission of outreach and public service.