Prospect for the
Social Sciences in the Land Grant
ACCORDING TO THE Morrill Act, which became law on July 2, 1862, the original aim of a land grant university was to provide in each state "at least one college where the leading object [would] be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, ... such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanical arts . . . in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life."
The mission of the land grant university, both as stipulated in the Morrill Act and in its broader interpretation by the founders of land grant universities, has been expanded considerably over the years in content and scope. This extraordinary expansion occurred primarily in response to often dramatic changes, across successive decades, in the needs and problems arising in our society. As indicated in some of the data presented in this essay, nowadays such changes are occurring mainly in the social sphere and are likely to be even more dramatic and consequential in the coming century.