Brown Becomes A Land Grant University

In 1863, Brown became Rhode Island’s first land grant university when it received 120,000 acres in Kansas from the federal government under the Morrill Act. In exchange for the money generated by the sale of the land, Brown was to educate students in agricultural and mechanical arts. Dissatisfied with Brown’s broad interpretation of appropriate coursework, the legislature (having fended off Brown’s challenge all the way to the Supreme Court) transferred the land grant responsibilities to Rhode Island College for the Agricultural and Mechanic Arts (today’s University of Rhode Island) in 1894.