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College of Agriculture. Administration of the College of Agriculture (1874-) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: College of Agriculture. Administration of the College of Agriculture (1874-)

Historical Note: In accordance with the Morrill Act of 1862, Purdue was founded with a focus on agricultural and industrial education.  The inaugural course catalogue, for the 1874-75 year, listed various agricultural classes and offered a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture.  But agricultural studies at Purdue struggled during the university’s early years.  It was 1879 before the first professor in Agriculture was hired.  Student enrollment in Agriculture waned over the next twenty years.  In fact, the first Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree was not conferred until 1895.  The new century, however, brought steady growth to Purdue’s agricultural program.  Purdue awarded its first Master of Science in Agriculture in 1908, and PhD of Science in Agriculture in 1928.  The School of Agriculture, as well as the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, enjoyed increased state and federal funding beginning in the 1910s, which solidified Purdue’s place as the center of Indiana agriculture.  Enduring a significant decrease in student enrollment during World War II, Purdue Agriculture rebounded in the postwar years and began to offer fresh areas of study in such fields as agricultural meteorology, environmental science, farm and business management, feed, fertilizer, and machinery development, food engineering, landscape agriculture, pest control, and resource conservation.

Purdue University, School of Agriculture websites:




Robert W. Topping, A Century and Beyond: The History of Purdue University, West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1988.

Roger James Wood, “Science, Education, and the Political Economy in Indiana: A History of the School of Agriculture, Agricultural Experiment Station, and Department of Agricultural Extension at Purdue University to 1945, PhD. dissertation, Purdue University, 1993.

Note Author: John Michael Foster

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