CHAMPAIGN, IL.- The University of Illinois
is currently displaying the Morrill Act, one of the seminal documents of higher education in the United States. Its exhibition began yesterday at the Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, 500 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign.
The document, which only recently has been available for public viewing outside of Washington, D.C., was unveiled during the Morrill Act Exhibition Preview and Opening Reception. A screening of the public television documentary Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency followed the opening reception and preview of the installation.
The public exhibition will serve as a focal point for lectures and educational events as part of the universitys ongoing celebration of the Lincoln Bicentennial.
Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862, the Morrill Act enabled states to make higher education accessible to all through the establishment of land-grant colleges and universities. The new land-grant institutions emphasized agriculture and the mechanical arts, which opened opportunities to thousands of farmers and working people previously excluded from higher education.
Sixty-nine colleges were funded by these land grants, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell University and the University of Illinois.