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1890 Research & Extension Background

SC State University: An 1890 Land-Grant University

Land-grant universities have been the foundation of America’s agricultural productivity for more than a century. Their beginnings are based on the passage of the First Morrill Act of 1862, which permitted states to receive federal support in the form of land to establish colleges or universities. As prescribed by the Act, land-grant institutions were mandated to teach agriculture, military tactics and mechanical arts.

In 1890, Congress passed the Second Morrill Act of 1890. This provision inspired the creation of the nation’s 17 historically black land-grant colleges, also known as 1890 institutions. The Act required that states in the then-segregated South establish institutions of higher education for blacks.

Later additions to the land-grant system have been included in the last decades. The expansion of the land-grant system accommodated U.S. jurisdictions and the inclusion of the nation’s Native American colleges. Today, there is at least one land-grant university in all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and Guam.

For South Carolina State University, the First and Second Morrill Acts are the foundations on which the university was established. The university was first created in 1872 in compliance with the 1862 Morrill Land Grant Act, when the South Carolina General Assembly created the South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical Institute in 1872 in Orangeburg, S.C. This institute existed within the institution of Claflin College, now Claflin University, from 1872 until 1896.

Under the 1890 Morrill Land Grant Act, the South Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation in 1895 for the severance of the South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical Institute, from Claflin College.

On March 4, 1896, SC State University opened independent of Claflin College as a land-grant institution under the name of the Colored Normal Industrial Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina. The name was changed to South Carolina State College in 1954. The school received university status in 1992 and adopted its present name, South Carolina State University. The university is one of two land-grant universities in South Carolina. Clemson University is the state’s 1862 institution.

The 1890 Research & Extension Program is the cornerstone of the historical land-grant status of South Carolina State University. The Program is integral in helping the university preserve its 1890 land-grant legacy of service to the citizens of South Carolina.

The 1890 Research Program funds several research projects focusing on agriculture and production systems; youth and family development; rural life and rural opportunities and environment, health and human nutrition. These projects enable the university to demonstrate its unique capability for understanding and addressing problems, concerns and issues affecting the quality of life of disadvantaged communities.

The 1890 Extension Program provides an outreach perspective to help rural limited-resource clients improve their level and quality of living and to help them achieve their goals through wise resource management. Its focus areas include: 4-H youth development; adult leadership and community development; small farm assistance and outreach; environment and natural resources; family life; technology and data management; and nutrition, food safety and wellness.

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