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Media Advisory

U of M marks 150th anniversary of Morrill Act with special 'Land Grant Sesquicentennial Day' program

Media Note: In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, Governor Mark Dayton has declared July 20 as “University of Minnesota Land Grant Sesquicentennial Day.”

Who: U of M President Eric Kaler, President Abe Lincoln look-alike, Goldy Gopher, U of M Alumni Marching Band (members of the media are encouraged to attend)
What: 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1862
When: Friday, July 20 at 1 p.m.
Where: Northrop Auditorium Plaza, 84 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis

Contacts: Nina Shepherd, System Academic Administration,, (612) 625-5716
Julie Christensen, University News Service,, (612) 626-1720

July 16, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (07/16/2012) – Faculty, staff, students, neighbors and hundreds of youngsters attending various camps at the U will join University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and Goldy Gopher—with a special appearance by “President Abe Lincoln”—in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act at 1 p.m. Friday, July 20, on the Northrop Auditorium Plaza on the university’s Twin Cities campus.

A short program beginning at approximately 1:10 p.m. to recognize the U’s land-grant legacy will include music by the U of M Alumni Marching Band and a reading of Governor Mark Dayton’s proclamation of July 20 as “University of Minnesota Land Grant Sesquicentennial Day.” Presidents Kaler and Lincoln, the latter played by university theater student Michael Fell, also will hand out free ice cream sandwiches.

The special commemorative program is part of UMN Land Grant 150, a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1862—legislation that laid the groundwork for the land-grant research university’s ongoing mission of learning, discovery and engagement for the common good.

The Morrill Act put into motion ideals and principles that guide the university to this day, as it evolves to meet 21st-century needs. The legislation set the stage for the “democratization” of higher education in America and called for higher education to be an active partner in the development and improvement of agriculture, the mechanical arts—known today as engineering—and the university’s life-saving research enterprise.

The University of Minnesota continues to reinvent itself and adapt its land-grant mission. For example, agriculture in 1862 meant feeding Minnesota, and today it means protecting the world’s food supply from disease and other threats, and keeping our food animals safe. Biochemical engineering, advanced physics and nanotechnology at the U today are producing new products, jumpstarting new companies and creating jobs.

One of very few public research land-grant institutions located in a major urban setting, the U is also committed to partnerships and collaborations that address the many complex challenges facing urban communities.

In addition, the university’s collaboration with the Mayo Clinic has become a globally recognized model of innovation in the biomedical field, as researchers continue to advance discoveries in a variety of disease areas, illnesses and bioscience areas.

The July 20 event is free and is open to university faculty, staff, students, alumni and neighbors. For more information on UMN Land Grant 150, including a short video, visit


Tags: All administrative: President, Provost, etc.

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