Next week marks the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln signing Justin Smith Morrill’s land-grant act into law – a hallmark decision that laid the foundation for Texas A&M to become the first public institution of higher education in Texas more than 140 years ago. Not only did this event mark the nation’s commitment to higher education and upward mobility for its citizens, it allowed for more applied studies that would prepare students for the world that they would face once leaving the classroom.
Since then, Texas A&M has flourished to become one of the nation’s premier academic and research universities. We have remained steadfast in honoring our land-grant mission of teaching, research and service. And, through transformative intellectual experiences and opportunities for discovery, innovation and societal impact, we shape students into scholars and citizens of consequence and launch them into the world encouraged and equipped to take on the most pressing challenges of our time – both in their careers and out in their communities.
Our responsibility to uphold Texas A&M’s land-grant heritage is what fuels our continued pursuit of knowledge, understanding and innovation. It has earned us recognition as the No. 2 ranked university on the list of Best Schools of 2017 by schools.com. It has positioned us as the leading academic organization in the world focused on the research, development and commercialization of electron beam (eBeam) technologies. And it has propelled our Center for Food Safety to the forefront in the fight to eliminate the threat of foodborne diseases. Just as Morrill’s land-grant has, for more than a century, improved the lives of millions of Americans by funding public higher education, so too has Texas A&M improved the lives of others in the great state of Texas, across the country, and around the world through its purpose-driven research and capacity for solving grand global issues.
Here, transformational learning, discovery and innovation, and service to others never stops. Our impassioned faculty and staff work tirelessly to cultivate an educational environment ripe with entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary experiences – not just during the academic semesters, but year-round. And as a result, you have built a campus culture that breeds significant technological advances and creative solutions that meet the needs of industry and advance society.
Higher education would not be what nor where it is today without bold pioneers like Morrill and Lincoln, who went against the grain, voiced the unpopular opinion, stood up for what they believed in, and always continued to rise to every challenge that confronted them.
In a similar vein, you continue to lead by example and provide opportunities for students to transcend boundaries in and out of the classroom. It is during moments like these that the true impact of higher education shines and new leaders are born.
Together, our faculty, staff and students are defining what it means to be a 21st century land-grant university. Inspired by our fearless forefathers and guided by our core values, we are charting measureable impact today and into the future. The qualities our faculty and staff exhibit – your fortitude, adaptability and accountability – define what it means to be a true leader and help us realize our collective commitment to academic excellence.
More: Grand Challenges