Institutes of higher education predate the establishments of many states themselves. Interesting? Really, the history of higher education in each state tells us a lot about the focus of our society. Long before George Washington took the oath of office as our first president, higher education in the New World had taken a strong hold. Many institutions started as places of religious study (after all, our founding fathers came to America in search of religious freedom) but soon turned their eyes toward the study of democracy and philosophical ideals. The groundwork for the American revolution was laid at places like Harvard, Yale, and William and Mary.
TheBestSchools.org has compiled the history of higher education in each of the fifty states. From beginnings in 1693 at Virginia’s College of William and Mary to the sowing of the seeds of succession at the University of South Carolina leading to the Civil War to boom of online institutions of higher learning that accompanied the rise of the internet age; As the United States grew and evolved so did its education system. This is unsurprising considering that the spread of information and new ideas is the catalyst by which all social and political growth is obtained.
Considering this, it is no surprise that when Hawaii was added as the fiftieth state of the union in 1959 its first university was already over fifty years old. The Colleges of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts in Honolulu was founded in 1907 under the Hawai’I territorial legislature. Its humble beginnings proved that there was a strong desire for higher education and to pass ideas between the 10 students and 12 faculty members.
Potentially the most important act in American governmental history, the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862, granted public funding for schools that studied agriculture and engineering. This made state sponsored universities possible in each state. These public institutions grew into some of the bastions of higher learning that are still respected the world around today such as Cornell University, Purdue University and Ohio State University.
What is the history of higher education in your state? You may be surprised to find that your local state school is not just a source of pride which you display on a t-shirt or with your basketball allegiance, but rather an institution with a storied history that has made a tremendous impact on the state that you call home. TheBestSchools.org is happy to present the history of higher education in each of the fifty states not only as a history lesson but as a source of pride in the ever evolving American higher education system that has produced some of the greatest leaders, thinkers, and innovators in the history of the world.