Opening Statement: Chairman K. Michael Conaway Full Committee Hearing: To recognize the continuing contributions of the 1890s Land-Grant Universities on the 125th Anniversary of the passage of the Second Morrill Act

Jul 15, 2015

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning.

Today, the Committee on Agriculture will shift its focus from legislation and oversight, to one of a less political nature, but of significant importance nonetheless.

Land-grant institutions are often categorized as 1862, 1890, and 1994 institutions, based on the date of the legislation that designated most of them with land-grant status.  

August 30th marks the 125th anniversary of the enactment of the Morrill Act of 1890, commonly referred to as the Second Morrill Act.  This law authorized additional direct appropriations for the land grant colleges of agriculture that had been established under the Morrill Act of 1862. 

The most significant feature of the second Morrill Act was that the 1862 schools could receive the additional funds only if they admitted blacks into their programs or if they provided separate but equal agricultural higher education to black students. 

In the period following the Civil War, sixteen southern states established separate land grant colleges of agriculture for black students under this Act; Congress designated Tuskegee University an 1890 institution at a later date. 

Today, in honor of the continuing contribution of these important institutions, we would like to hear directly from their leaders regarding not only the successes of the individual institutions, but likewise, the successes of the 1890’s generally.  

In the coming months, we will further evaluate the land grant system looking for ways to strengthen their capacity to improve our agricultural research, extension and educational programs.   

While 6 of the 1890’s Presidents will testify this morning, we are fortunate in that the Presidents from 18 of the universities are in attendance today and are prepared to answer Members’ questions:

In addition to our witnesses, we have joining us:

Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr., President, Alabama A&M University, Normal, AL

Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr., President, Alcorn State University, Lorman, MS

Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond, President, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President, Delaware State University, Wilmington, DE

Dr. Raymond M. Burse, President, Kentucky State University, Frankfort, KY

Dr. Kent J. Smith, Jr., President, Langston University, Langston, OK

Dr. Kevin Rome, President, Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO

Dr. W. Franklin Evans, President, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, SC

Dr. Ray Belton, President, Southern University System, Baton Rouge, LA

Dr. Laurence B. Alexander, Chancellor, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff, AR

Dr. Pamela V. Hammond, Interim President, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

And finally, 

Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, President, West Virginia State University, Institute, WV

If there are others in the audience that I didn’t mention by name, please know that the Committee values your contributions.

It is now my pleasure to recognize the Ranking Member for any comments he wishes to make.