History of Texas A&M University

Reference & EducationCollege & University

  • Author Josiah Eloy
  • Published December 30, 2022
  • Word count 775

Texas A&M International University is a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, and American Council on Education. Texas A&M University includes campuses at Commerce (1889), Kingsville (1925), Corpus Christi (1947), Galveston (1962, operated as a branch campus of the College Station campus), and Texarkana (1971), in addition to Prairie View A&M University (1876), Tarleton State University (1899) in Stephenville, Texas A&M International University (1969) in Laredo, and West Texas A&M University (1909) in Canyon.

In 1986, Texas A&M University made plans to establish a campus in Koriyama, Japan, which began accepting students beginning in 1990, aiming to move students to the College Station campus after two years of classes. The next year, Texas A&M was formally integrated, with A&M welcoming its first African American students. Despite the name, the university did not teach any classes on agriculture, focusing instead on classics, languages, literature, and applied mathematics.

Although the Texas constitution specified Texas A&M was to be a department of the not-yet-created University of Texas, the Austin School was established with its own Board of Trustees. Texas A&M University was established on April 17, 1871, by the Texas legislature during Reconstruction as Texas' first state-supported higher educational institution. The State Legislature passed a bill providing for the establishment of Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College on April 17, 1871, and appropriated $75,000 to build the schools buildings and adequate housing.

Five years later, the Texas legislature during the Reconstruction Era, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, established the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, organized the Texas Forest Service, and authorized a school of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University. The Morrill land-grant bill, passed by the United States Congress in 1862, granted Texas 180,000 acres to create a College of Agriculture and Mechanical Science.

Founded as a branch college of the University of Texas, the nations leading public higher educational institution, Texas A&M opened October 4, 1876, as Texas A&M, pursuant to provisions of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Act.

Dating back to 1871, there were debates whether The University of Texas should be a stand-alone institution delivering a classical as well as an agricultural and engineering curriculum or a branch college of the states namesake university, offering a less academically rigorous agricultural curriculum. College administrators did themselves no favors in the beginning of 1885, when the president of the college board, George Pfeuffer, used the office of George Pfeuffer, as Texas senator, to essentially wage war against The University of Texas, proposing legislation before the state legislature to shut down the University, open it up again a while later, with drastically reduced facilities, and thereby establish the A&M Colleges as the premier state higher educational institution in Texas (and, of course, making A&M the main benefactors of the universitys endowment funds.

Then, Texass two institutions of higher education began fighting over the scarce funds then available from the State of Texas for its own endowment. Governor Oscar Colquitt called on the Texas legislature to write a constitutional amendment that would split the University of Texas from the A&M, and enact proposed taxes that would not just support A&M, but also support all of Texass state colleges.

After the Civil War and passage of the Morrill Land Grant College Act, the 1866 constitutional convention provided an additional one-million-acre endowment for one or more public universities. Congress also appropriated fifty square leagues of land, about 221,420 acres, for endowment for two universities. The 50 square leagues of land were supplemented by one land deed to each of the 10 deeds granted to railroads.

The fourth congress of the Texas republic donated fifty leagues (221,400 acres) of land in 1839 to endow two colleges or universities. The Texas Congress, on January 14, 1839, provided for the choice of the location of the seat of government, which was to be named Austin. A three-member commission chose the site near Bryan, in Texas Territory, after the local citizens donated 2,416 acres to the university.

After launching its first Ph.D. program in 1962, the name was changed again in 1965, to East Texas State University. With over 59,000 students and over 5,200 acres on its campus in College Station, Texas A&M is also one of the largest universities in the country.

Texas A&M ranks 13th among American research universities in foreign exchange agreements and student participation in study abroad programs, and has robust research partnerships with Chinas National Natural Science Foundation and numerous leading universities in China. Texas A&M -Kingsville is South Texas' largest university, offering more academic programs and degrees, providing better learning and living facilities, conducting more research, awarding more scholarships, and producing more successful graduates than any other college or university in Texas.

Josiah Eloy, Journalist for Trends/Business/Economy



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