Maine’s Land Grant Celebrates its Legacy in the State
The University of Maine is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 with events on campus and statewide, and an interactive website to encourage community engagement by the many constituents of the state’s land and sea grant university.
In a Jan. 23 letter to the community, UMaine President Susan Hunter noted the significance of this anniversary for the state and its many constituents — an opportunity to celebrate UMaine’s legacy and to understand how that history informs the university’s future.
“The University of Maine’s 150th anniversary observance will reaffirm the teaching, research and economic development, and outreach mission of a 21st-century land grant institution, and its potential to change lives,” President Hunter said in her community letter.
“For 150 years, the University of Maine has had a leadership role in the state. Because Maine’s potential is our purpose, UMaine serves as the state’s major research and cultural hub, linking our resources with the needs of industries and businesses, schools, cultural institutions, Maine government and communities. In this, our 150th year, there is more recognition than ever that the land grant university can — and must — play a key role in enhancing the quality of life for citizens all across Maine and beyond,” Hunter said.
President Abraham Lincoln signed the first Morrill Act establishing the land grant mission with the goal to provide “practical education that had direct relevance” to people’s daily lives.
The Maine legislature passed a bill to create Maine’s land grant institution on Feb. 24, 1865. Gov. Samuel Cony signed it the next day.
The first board of trustees, chaired by Hannibal Hamlin of Bangor, addressed the Maine people three months later, noting that “it is by the union of scientific knowledge with physical industry, that labor becomes most productive, and the laborer gains.”
UMaine welcomed its first class of 12 students in September 1868; the first graduation was held in 1872.
Today, UMaine enrolls more than 11,200 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Maine and the U.S., and more than 65 countries, and has more than 105,000 alumni worldwide.
UMaine’s 150th anniversary events began with the School of Performing Arts benefit production, “150 Years of American Song: A Celebration of the University of Maine,” Jan 23.
Other 150th celebration events during this anniversary year:
- University of Maine Day at the State House in Augusta, Feb. 24 — the date 150 years ago that the Maine legislature passed the bill creating the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
- Women in Leadership Week, March 23–27, featuring a Presidential Installation on March 26, Collins Center for the Arts.
- Maine Day, April 29.
- Commencement, May 9.
- Open University Day and Homecoming, Oct. 17–18.
More information about these and other anniversary events will be on the 150th website.
The 150th website provides news, archival photos and historical information, and opportunities for members of the UMaine community and its many constituents to share their memories of the university.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745