University of Minnesota. School of AgricultureVariant names
The School of Agriculture opened on October 18, 1888, on the University Farm in St. Paul, with 17 students registered for the fall term. The School's administrative home was the College of Agriculture, and the School would remain a part of the College's administrative structure throughout its existence. Additional branches of the School of Agriculture were opened in Crookston (1906), Morris (1909), Grand Rapids (1921), and Waseca (1952). At their meeting on May 12, 1960, the Board of Regents, on recommendation of the President, voted "to authorize the beginning of a four-quarter Technical Certificate Program in Agriculture in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics in place of the present St. Paul School of Agriculture, effective with the academic year 1960-61.".
From the description of School of Agriculture records, 1854-1961. (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis). WorldCat record id: 704409632
The University provided agriculture education at multiple levels during its early decades but made a concerted effort in the late 1880s under President Cyrus Northrop’s leadership to establish a technical high school-level curriculum in agriculture. On the recommendation of a committee chaired by President Northrop, the Board of Regents approved the opening of the School of Agriculture at its March 6, 1888, meeting. The 1887-1888 Board of Regents Biennial Report to the Governor stated, “…young men should be trained to the work of the farm, and it is evident that some school in which they can be thus trained, and can acquire at the same time a good general education while keeping in mind their purpose to become farmers, is very desirable…”
The School of Agriculture opened on October 18, 1888, on the University Farm in St. Paul, with 17 students registered for the fall term. The School’s administrative home was the College of Agriculture, and the School would remain a part of the College’s administrative structure throughout its existence.
The University Announcement for 1888-1889 described the School of Agriculture’s two-year program: the first year covered subjects such as English, arithmetic, algebra, botany, and mechanical drawing with lectures in farm management, farm architecture, and horticulture; and the second year covered geometry, civil government, political economy, agricultural chemistry, and animal physiology with lecture in grains, soils and fertilizers, stock and dairying, horticulture, and veterinary.
Admission was given to “students who have completed a common school course in English, Arithmetic, U. S. History and Geography, as prescribed by the State department of public instruction. Students will be received without examination in subjects for which they can furnish the certificates of high schools or of county superintendents.”
William W. Pendergast was selected as the first principal, and he reported after the School’s first year of operation that it had “an enrollment of 76 and the number is constantly increasing.” In 1891, the program was expanded to three years to include laboratory work in chemistry, zoology, and botany.
Women were accepted into the School’s program starting in October 1897. Men and women shared course work in the sciences, with the women taking courses separately in “sewing, cooking, laundering, physical culture, home economy, and household arts” (Board of Regents Report to the Governor, 1899).
By 1900, the School was described in the annual Course Catalog as “a training school for practical farm life and in domestic economy” open to both young men and women. In the 1938 course catalog, the School’s purpose is described as “neither a high school nor a college but rather a vocational agricultural school, the objective of which is to give a practical education to young men and women. It offers a course of study designed to fit young men and young women for successful farm life, and aims to give its students the necessary preparation for useful citizenship.” Additional branches of the School of Agriculture were opened in Crookston (1906), Morris (1909), Grand Rapids (1921), and Waseca (1952).
At their meeting on May 12, 1960, the Board of Regents, on recommendation of the President, voted “to authorize the beginning of a four-quarter Technical Certificate Program in Agriculture in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics in place of the present St. Paul School of Agriculture, effective with the academic year 1960-61.” The 1958-1960 President’s Biennial Report noted the program’s discontinuation was made in response to the School’s students and alumni demanding college credit and that “it is expected the change to a college program will serve to expand the usefulness and influence of the old School of Agriculture program.”
- School of Agriculture Principals and Superintendents
- Warren W. Pendergast; Principal; 1888-1893
- Henry W. Brewster; Acting Principal and Principal; 1893-1900
- Frederick D. Tucker; Principal; 1900-1903
- Dexter D. Mayne; Principal; 1903-1929
- J.O. Christianson; Acting Principal, Principal, Superintendent; 1930-1960
From the guide to the School of Agriculture records, 1854-1961, (University of Minnesota Libraries. University of Minnesota Archives [uarc])
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