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MIT is more than living up to its land grant commitment

Addison Killean Stark’s well written guest column, “Living up to MIT’s land grant commitment” in the September 21 issue of The Tech is wrong.

MIT was given 30 percent of the Land Grant income from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a College of the Mechanic Arts. The rest went to establish an Agricultural College that became the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. See pages 38-40 of Samuel C. Prescott’s “When M.I.T. was ‘Boston Tech’ 1861-1916”, (1954) The Technology Press (now The MIT Press), Cambridge, MA.

MIT has no responsibility under the Land Grant as set up in Massachusetts to do anything with agriculture. It has more than fulfilled it’s responsibilities to teach the mechanic arts, and continues to do so.

UMass Amherst has agricultural programs comparable to those Stark mentions at Cornell.

Massachusetts is the only state to split it’s Land Grant income between two colleges, as well as the only state to split the responsibility. See page 268 (& others) of Dr. Julius Stratton’s

(MIT’s President, 1959-1966) book: “Mind and Hand: The Birth of MIT”, (2005) MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

Stark might want to make other arguments for why MIT should more extensively teach and research agriculture, but this one is wrong.

Leonard H. Tower ’71