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UW Lecture to Explore History, Future of Land-Grant Universities

May 2, 2017
man speaking and gesturing
UW Assistant Professor Scott Henkel

A University of Wyoming faculty member will explore the history and future of land-grant universities during a public lecture Monday, May 8.

Scott Henkel, assistant professor in the Department of English and in African American and Diaspora Studies, is scheduled to speak from 4:30-6 p.m. in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. His topic: “The Humanities and the Land Grant University Mission from the 19th to the 21st Century.”

The lecture is presented by the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research (WIHR) and the UW President’s Office.

UW, like other land-grant universities across the country, was established under the Morrill Act of 1862. The U.S. government gave land to state and territorial governments so institutions of higher learning could be endowed to benefit all citizens of that region through practical research, outreach and quality education for all, not just the wealthy or elite.

“Since their founding in the 19th century, land-grant universities have been among the primary institutions designed to engage the public in the broadest range of humanistic, scientific and cultural education,” Henkel says. “They were first imagined amid the Civil War and Reconstruction, as part of the effort, in W.E.B. DuBois’s words, to seize ‘the opportunity for a real and new democracy in America’; they were then built to serve the needs of people whose potential had yet to be fulfilled.”

Henkel will present a history of what the land-grant university has been, in order to ask what its mission could be in the 21st century.

For more information, email WIHR Director Eric Sandeen at

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