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Dr. Mary Sias, president of Kentucky State University, stands with Dr. Harry L. Williams at the wreath that was laid in commemoration of the Morrill Act. Dr. Sias is also the president of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Council of Presidents, the first African American to serve in that leadership post.

  Dr. Harry Williams Attends Morrill Act Commemoration in D.C.

HW w Dr Sessoms in Washington 300 2.jpgDSU President Harry L. Williams is reunited with former DSU President Allen L. Sessoms, who is now the president of the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Sessoms brought Dr. Williams to DSU in 2008 when he hired him as provost

DSU President Harry L. Williams traveled to Washington, D.C. on June 25 to be among 70 presidents and chancellors from public colleges and university across the country to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Morrill Act.

The commemoration took place during the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities Council of Presidents’ Summer Meeting in the nation’s capital, culminating a day of meetings with an observance program held in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act of 1862 that allowed for the creation of land grant colleges in the Union states during the Civil War.

The June 25 observance also celebrated the Morrill Act of 1890, which provided land-grant funding for the establishment of black colleges in the country. The second Morrill Act gave birth to Delaware State University – then-called the State College for Colored Students – in 1891.

Both Morrill Acts gave great impetus to the establishment of public institutions of higher education in the United States.

“It was quite an honor to join these land grant presidents in Washington, D.C. to celebrate our institutions’ beginnings through the Morrill Acts of 1860 and 1892,” Dr. Williams said.

Presidents and Chancellors 500.jpgThe presidents and chancellors gather at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial after the Morill Act observance. DSU President Harry L. Williams can be found on the left side in the second row.