Morrill Act celebration marks past, future
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 14:10
UTM celebrated 150 years of the Morrill Act with an academic speaker on Oct. 1 and a display honoring agricultural progress and research outside the Paul Meek Library on Oct. 4-5.
The Morrill Act, signed into law in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, provided each state with 30,000 acres of federal land for each congressional delegate. The land was to be sold and the proceeds used to create affordable colleges that would teach applied sciences, such as agriculture, engineering and home economics, in addition to the classical arts.
These institutions, also known as “land grant institutions,” made widespread instruction on mass food and fiber production possible. The proper education of farmers allowed future generations to move away from the farm and aspire to non-agricultural careers. The University of Tennessee system was founded by land grants from the Morrill Act.
James Rose, architecture professor at UTK, began the celebration with his lecture Oct. 1 on the “Living Light” house, designed entirely by students at Knoxville.
Rose discussed active (solar) energy and passive energy systems in his description of how the students had to design the house. The students had to follow specific guidelines in order to enter their house into the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
A display of the “Living Light” house was part of the Morrill Act display inside the Paul Meek Library.
The actual house, which was professionally built, resides on the Knoxville campus. It has traveled 3,000 miles (including its trip to the Decathlon) and has been toured by 50,000 people. The house is still open on Wednesdays and by appointment for tours.
Rose said the purpose of designing and building the house was to teach students from across disciplines how to integrate new technology into architecture and how to build for the future to conserve energy. The purpose of the Solar Decathlon, which is sponsored by the Department of Energy, is to drive demand up for these new technologies in the residential market, he said.
The UTK team placed eighth in the Decathlon, its first time to participate in the event, Rose said.
“Everything in the house can be hooked up and controlled from an iPhone or iPad,” Rose said.