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Michigan State University

As Michigan State and the nation observe the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Morrill Act, which democratized higher education, we reflect on MSU’s history and destiny in working for the common good.

From the mid-nineteenth century when Michigan State opened its doors to educate those who would go on to build the nation to its role today as one of the world’s top research universities, MSU has changed lives and helped change the world. Through the years, the university and its campus also have been transformed.

Photo Gallery

A glimpse of the MSU campus—then and now:

Photo: Female Students in Physics Lab. Photo: A professor delivers a horticulture lecture to male and female students in the early 1890s in what is now the Entomology Building. Photo: Cows cross the bridge at Farm Lane in 1930. Photo: The original Wells Hall was built in 1877 and burned in 1905. It was named for Hezekiah Wells, who helped found the university. Photo: Students and local residents wait to board the MSU Excursion Train. Photo: Linton Hall was the Library and Museum when MSU was known as Michigan Agricultural College. Photo: A student reads in her dormitory room in 1896. Photo: The College Cadet Band of 1884 stands in front of the original Wells Hall and campus greenhouses. Photo: President Theodore Roosevelt, who visited campus during the university’s semicentennial, sits next to Jonathan Snyder, president of Michigan Agricultural College, in an REO motorcar driven by Ransom Olds. Photo: An aerial view looks north at a portion of MSU’s campus. Photo: The 362,700-gross-square-foot Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building was completed in 2001. Photo: Linton Hall is home to the College of Arts and Letters. Photo: Campbell Hall, a residence hall built in 1939, was partially funded by the Public Works of Art Project established under the Roosevelt administration. Photo: Thousands of fans pack Spartan Stadium for a football game. Photo: The new Brody Hall addition greets students in the fall. Photo: Students eat in the remodeled Case Hall dining area. Photo: The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is under construction along Grand River Avenue. Photo: Members of the Spartan Marching Band play during a Homecoming football game at Spartan Stadium.

Archival photos courtesy of University Archives and Historical Collections

Morrill Act Badge

The Nation Celebrates

Celebrate at the National Mall 
June 27–July 8

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., will feature the program “Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150” to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of land-grant universities and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Celebrate in East Lansing
2012 Great Lakes Folk Festival
August 10-12

The program “Campus and Community: Public and Land-grant Universities and the USDA at 150” is part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, curated by MSU’s Kurt Dewhurst, director of arts and culture initiatives and curator of the MSU Museum, and cosponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.

Visit the Morrill Act sesquicentennial website for more information.

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