Land Grant

Land Grand

UF Land Grant

Take a look around. Land Grant is a big reason why UF will always be a big part of your life.


The University of Florida. A Grand Example of the Land-Grant University.

One year, four months and 17 days before Abraham Lincoln addressed a war-weary crowd at the dedication of a cemetery in Gettysburg, the President signed legislation that made an immediate and everlasting impact on the way people experience their lives. The Morrill Act established the land-grant university system and essentially initiated what could be defined as "The Education Revolution" that thrives to this day.

Some of the most highly regarded universities in the nation are land-grant institutions. The University of Florida is proud to be one of them.


The Education Revolution

  • Northwest Ordinance


    The Northwest Ordinance is passed, authorizing the sale of public land for support of education, thus establishing the land-grant principle.

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  • Academic Building of the East Florida Seminary


    The East Florida Seminary in Ocala created in response to public funds being used to support higher education.

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  • President Abraham Lincoln


    The Morrill Act is passed and signed by President Abraham Lincoln, donating public lands to support colleges and providing citizens greater access to higher education.

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  • Chapel Hall at the Florida Agricultural College


    The Florida Agricultural College at Lake City is established under the Morrill Act.

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  • Carl Hatch


    The Hatch Act is passed, mandating the creation of agricultural experiment stations for scientific research.

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  • The class of 1894 - Princess Anne Academy


    The Second Morrill Act is passed, providing funding to institutions for black students.

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  • The Florida Legislators who passed the Buckman Act in 1905


    The Buckman Act consolidates the colleges of the State of Florida.

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  • John J. Tigert stands at the east entrance to Newell Hall.


    The University of Florida in Gainesville opens its doors.

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  • Asbury Francis 'Frank' Lever


    The Smith-Lever Act is passed, providing federal support for land-grant institutions to offer educational programs through cooperative extension efforts.

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  • FDR signs the G.I. Bill of Rights.


    The G.I. Bill is introduced, providing for the higher education of veterans.

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  • USDA


    The Clarke-McNary Amendment. This authorized USDA to cooperate with land-grant colleges in aiding farmers.

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  • Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus


    The National Sea Grant College and Program Act, founded by oceanographer, inventor, writer and educator Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus, is signed by President Johnson.

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  • The U.S. Department of Education


    The U.S. Department of Education is established.

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  • USDA


    The Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act authorizes land-grant status to tribal colleges, 29 institutions serving primarily Native Americans.

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  • UF 150th logo


    UF celebrates its 150th birthday and is ranked the fourth largest university in the country.

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  • Justin Morrill


    The Morrill Act marks its own sesquicentennial anniversary.

University of Florida
President Abraham Lincoln

When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in July 1862, he demonstrated remarkable foresight, particularly considering the country was in the midst of the Civil War. Lincoln realized the importance of higher education and made Representative Justin Morrill's dream a reality.

The passage of the Morrill Act in 1862 provided thousands of Americans access to knowledge and a teaching environment they most likely never would have experienced. That cause was furthered by the Second Morrill Act in 1890, which provided funding to institutions for black students.

A century and a half later, America's 74 land-grant universities continue to connect students with the finest faculty and resources the country has to offer. The University of Florida is proud to be a leading member of that group. UF offers more than 100 undergraduate degrees and more than 200 graduate degrees. Our accessibility can also be measured in our affordability. 2012 marks the seventh year in a row that the University of Florida was named the second-best value in public colleges in the U.S. by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

One of only six universities in the country with colleges of law, medicine, agriculture and veterinary medicine on one central campus, as well as undergraduate and graduate degrees available via distance and online learning, the University of Florida exemplifies the vision of the Morrill Act. UF is also one of only 17 universities in the country to share the distinction of land-grant and sea-grant status.

Map of Land-Grant Colleges & Universities
(1.2MB PDF)
University of Florida
George A. Smathers Library

It's all about opportunity. The original land-grant legislation gave Americans the opportunity to attend college and learn about agriculture and mechanical arts (now better known as engineering). It provided states with the land that made it possible to finance and establish those universities. And it gave the universities an opportunity to educate, research and grow. UF seized that opportunity and has established itself as the state's flagship university, as evidenced by our status as the only Florida institution belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities.

Those who graduate from the University of Florida enjoy greater opportunities than their peers at many other universities. In 2010, job recruiters ranked UF No. 9 on the list of the top 25 places where corporations prefer to recruit new employees, according to the Wall Street Journal. And UF ranked No. 3 on SmartMoney magazine's 2011 list of colleges and universities that help graduates get top salaries. And nearly two-thirds of UF graduates leave the university with no student loan debt.

University of Florida

Throughout its history as a land-grant university, UF has achieved a great number of successes while fulfilling our mission to teach, research and provide service. The quality of our education has produced multiple Nobel Prize winners, as well as U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, state governors, U.S. ambassadors, college presidents and countless leaders of major companies and institutions, from MTV to the United States Marine Corps.

Research has resulted in breakthrough products that have changed the playing field. In one case, quite literally: Gatorade®. Further evidence is the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), which has earned the No. 1 ranking in Agricultural R&D from the National Science Foundation. With nearly 300 different crops produced throughout the state, Florida -- the nation's leader in that category -- faces a more diverse set of challenges. UF/IFAS has risen to the occasion and embarked on research initiatives to meet those challenges.


Dedicated to developing knowledge in agriculture, human and natural resources and the life sciences, UF/IFAS is also charged with the responsibility of making that information accessible throughout the state. To that end, each of Florida's 67 counties is served by a dedicated UF/IFAS office. This was made possible by the 1914 Smith-Lever Act that provided federal support for land-grant institutions to offer educational programs through cooperative extension efforts.

IFAS Research
Florida Agriculture Experiment Station
University of Florida
Lake Alice

Gators take pride in living up to the ideals established by the Morrill Act. Through learning, discovery and engagement, we honor its legacy every day of the year. Especially this year.

Gator Pride

As part of a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, UF will be a proud participant at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a major summer event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This year's program will focus on the founding of land-grant universities and provide demonstrations, discussions and hands-on activities. Visitors will have the opportunity to attend "mini-university" classes on astronomy, paleontology, sustainable energy and a variety of other topics presented by land-grant universities from around the country. The University of Florida's exhibit will revolve around wise use of perhaps the state's most precious resource: water.

University of Florida

Quite frankly, without the Morrill Act and the creation of the land-grant university system, UF simply would not be the outstanding institution it is today. Our professors, researchers and students are more accomplished because of it. Our facilities are better equipped. And anyone who has earned a degree from the University of Florida is empowered in ways that will last not just for a career, but a lifetime.

With UF leading the way as Florida's flagship university, people throughout the state have benefitted in countless ways from legislation passed 150 years ago. And over that time, we at UF have done more than teach. We have learned. Never before have we been in such a strong position to instill knowledge and generate ideas that benefit mankind. And in our endeavor to do so, we can repay the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and Justin Morrill in the most honorable way imaginable.

University of Florida

You Are Invited To...

Bricks and Mortar in a Digital Age:The Uncertain Future of Higher Education

April 11, 2013
Land-Grant Closing Symposium
Agenda | Register To Attend
Location: University Auditorium | Gainesville, Florida
Event Parking: Map | Visitors


We encourage everyone interested in the future of public universities to join us for this daylong symposium on the changes that are rapidly reshaping higher education in America. Registration will be open March 1, 2013, and available at this site. Also coming soon: Online discussion opportunities and updates on the latest changes and challenges confronting public universities.

Join the conversation on:

About the Symposium

Relentless financial pressures and rapid technological changes are challenging bedrock principles and raising basic questions about public higher education in America. Is a college education worth the cost of tuition? Can students learn all they need to know online? A century and a half ago, the nation embraced a new notion of higher education when it created the land-grant universities. This symposium concludes UF’s yearlong celebration of the sesquicentennial of the Morrill Act with a forward-looking conversation on the next chapter in the public higher education story.

Featured Speakers

Jeff Selingo | Bio

Editor at large of The Chronicle of Higher Education and author of the forthcoming book, “College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students.”

Daphne Koller | Bio

MacArthur Fellow, Stanford University professor of computer science, and co-founder of the online education platform Coursera. (Participating via video from California.)

Other Speaker Bios

UF President Bernie Machen, Adam Putnam, Elio-Chiarelli, Hannah Carter, Jack Payne, Jackson Sasser, Jeann Mastrodicasa, Joe Glover, Katherine English, Mike Foley, Mori Hosseini, Danny Chang

University of Florida
Criser Hall Historic Campus Lake Alice Flavet Field Gator Pride Century Tower Century Tower