With a small enrollment of 166 students, the Agricultural and Mechanical College [AMC] of Texas was established in 1876 as a land-grant college. Fast forward 135 years and now Texas A&M University [formerly, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas] stands as a research-intensive, flagship university with world-class, award-winning faculty and over 49,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled.
The Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 served as the founding principle for the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas—the first public institution of higher learning in Texas dedicated to promoting a ‘liberal and practical education of the industrial classes’ with branches of learning in agriculture and the mechanic arts. According to University historian, Henry C. Dethloff:
“During the early years, the College [AMC] gave little more than lip service to agriculture. In the academic year 1880-81, 18 percent of the students were enrolled in agriculture, as opposed to 83 percent in engineering…..The later years of the decade brought a clear upsurge in agricultural enrollments.
In 1890, the College for the first time graduated as many agricultural students as engineers. Three years later, for the first and only time in its history, A&M graduated more agricultural than engineering students—eight for agriculture, seven for engineering.”
Despite these humble beginnings, agriculture has stood the test of time as small disciplinary programs gave rise to fledging academic departments and the later establishment of a School of Agriculture in 1911 and subsequent College designation in 1963.
In celebrating the Texas A&M’s rich history, we recognize the institution’s rich agricultural heritage, its strong land-grant mission and tradition, and robust agricultural teaching, research and extension programs.
Excellence begets success, and the rest is history! Today, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences remains committed to developing leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good. With its $183 million research portfolio, the College leads the nation with an enrollment exceeding 6,800 students and offers 92 academic degree programs throughout its 14 academic departments.
In the spirit of this rich tradition and history, the faculty, staff, students and former students of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences invite you to join as we celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of our founding as a College.