Magazine article ASEE Prism

Channeling Lincoln

Magazine article ASEE Prism

Channeling Lincoln

Article excerpt

The 1862 Morrill Act provided 17.4 million acres in federal land grants that states could sell to fund the creation of agricultural and technical colleges. Sponsored by Rep. Justin Morrill of Vermont and signed by Abraham Lincoln, the law is widely seen as having transformed American higher education by opening it up to children of the working class and small farmers, women, and African-Americans. Many landgrant schools grew to become major research universities. But as their stature rose, they ceded to urban colleges the task of educating the masses. So argue four engineering deans who trekked to Capitol Hill in early fall to press lawmakers for a 21st-century equivalent of the Morrill Act - this time aimed at colleges serving the poor and underrepresented minorities. Deans Amir Mirmiran of Florida International University; Keith Moo-Young of California State University, Los Angeles; Peter Kilpatrick of Notre Dame; and Richard Schoephoerster of the University of Texas, El Paso say their initiative is aimed at training more minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math - fields the nation needs to expand. …

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