Organizer: Roger Egolf (Pennsylvania State University – Lehigh Valley Campus, USA)
Presider: Roger Egolf (Pennsylvania State University – Lehigh Valley Campus, USA)
Penn State was the second state-chartered agricultural college in the United States (Michigan State received its state charter ten days earlier). Penn State’s first president, Evan Pugh, was an organic chemist who received his PhD with Friedrich Wohler, the “father of organic chemistry”; and Penn State’s seventh president, George Atherton, was the motive force behind the second Morrill Act of 1890, which created the historically black land grant institutions. Papers in this symposium will examine the history of the Morrill Land Grant College Acts, both the original act passed in 1862, which paved the way for many public universities, and the 2nd Morrill Act of 1890, which funded the establishment of the historically black public universities, mostly across the South. The major focus of the talks presented will be the ways these Acts enabled the study of chemistry by the children of the working and farming classes and, for the 1890 Morrill Act schools, how this funding opened the study of chemistry to African-Americans, a group who had mostly been excluded from our profession. Invited talks only.