Agriculture Hall rededicated as Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
Michigan State University (MSU) honored its past while looking toward the future Thursday, Aug. 29, when Agriculture Hall was officially rededicated as the Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture.
With about 40 members of the Morrill family looking on, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon talked about what the former Morrill Hall meant to the university and what the new Morrill Hall of Agriculture represents.
"It's not just about celebrating a legacy," Simon said, "it's about celebrating enduring values."
The former Morrill Hall, built in 1900, was a wooden structure that had sustained irreparable deterioration over the years, and was recently demolished.
The building was named after Justin S. Morrill, who is credited with the establishment of land-grant universities while serving as a U.S. Congressman.
The Morrill Act, signed into law by Abraham Lincoln in 1862, democratized higher education by granting each state land to establish a public college, revolutionizing the way institutions shared knowledge.
Founded in 1855, MSU was the nation's pioneer land-grant university and the prototype for the entire land-grant system.
The university will also honor the original site Morrill Hall, Simon said, by building a nature plaza in its place and naming it Morrill Plaza.
The move will be made official at an upcoming Board of Trustees meeting, Simon said.
"We want to keep this spirit alive because we are proud of who we are at our core," Simon said of the integral role Morrill played in MSU's history.
The rededication ceremony attracted about 150 attendees, including current and former faculty and staff members and several generations of graduates who once called Agriculture Hall and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) their home.
An official ribbon cutting was also held, featuring President Simon, Fred Poston, the dean of CANR, and members of the Morrill family.
Afterward, each member of the Morrill family in attendance was given a brick of the original Morrill Hall engraved with the date of the dedication ceremony of the new Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture.
Several additional bricks were raffled off to other attendees.