Kristen Yarmey (University of Scranton, USA)
As Pennsylvania’s only institution dedicated to agricultural education, the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania (later the Pennsylvania State University) was in 1862 well positioned to benefit from the Morrill Land Grant Act. Indeed, in 1863 Pennsylvania’s General Assembly passed legislation naming the College as the sole beneficiary of the state’s land grant, a designation which was desperately needed to maintain the College’s growing success and to fulfill the broad visions of its president, agricultural chemist Evan Pugh. However, other institutions in the state quickly contested the designation, seeking their own share of the grant despite their more traditional, classical curricula. Combined with the untimely death of Evan Pugh in 1864, this uncertainty and delay over land grant funding hobbled the College and particularly its scientific course of education for years to come. Framed within the evolving context of 19th century chemical education, this case study of Evan Pugh and the fight for Pennsylvania’s land grant designation demonstrates the difficulties chemical educators faced in bringing their science to a broader audience of students.