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Nathan M. Sorber

The Morrill Act of 1862 created the American land-grant universities and reshaped higher education in the United States. The legislation greatly expanded the number of public universities in the nineteenth century, creating the foundation of leading global universities like Cornell University, the University of California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Wisconsin. This chapter traces land-grant universities evolving role in national, state, and regional development from origins until today through four domains: the national development framework, the local development framework, the human capital framework, and emergent frameworks in an era of privatization and commercialization. The chapter highlights the critical role that land-grant teaching, research, and knowledge dissemination have had on economic development strategies in the United States.