Cornell University formally opened on October 7, 1868, as the federal land-grant institution of New York State under the 1862 Morrill Act, according to the University's press office, signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The bill provided for a grant of federal land to each state, which could sell the land and use the proceeds to help build and operate its new college. The land-grant colleges were required to teach branches of learning related to agriculture, military tactics, and the mechanic arts, as well as classical studies, so that a broad segment of the American population could obtain a liberal, practical education related to their daily lives.
I, too, attended a land-grant college in Illinois, which happens to be the oldest public university in the state. And legend has it that Honest Abe had his hand in creating it!
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