The Great Emancipator

I’ve just returned from a trip to Washington, DC as part of a program called Washington Campus, which is a for-credit program you can take through Fisher – and which I recommend. I’ll talk more about this later.

I took the opportunity to go the Lincoln Memorial and look up at the Great Emancipator.

The Great Emancipator
Lincoln looks off to the horizon

You may not know about the important connection that Lincoln has to The Ohio State University. And you may be even more confused when you remember that the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (which would become OSU) was founded in 1870, after Lincoln was tragically assassinated in 1865.

Well, in addition to his enormous legacy in preserving the union and advancing civil rights, Lincoln contributed to another of America’s enduring sources of strength – our great public university systems.

The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 offered federal lands in order to create and fund new universities – institutions dedicated to teaching and developing the important technologies of the day, agriculture and engineering.

Typical other universities at the time emphasized classics and professional training such as law. So the addition of these research universities all over the country contributed greatly to the advancement of science and engineering and to the high standard of living we enjoy today.

Lincoln was president when Congress passed the bill and his signature made it law. Having been raised a farmer and being the only US president ever to have a patent, you can imagine that Lincoln must have taken a particular interest in the arts it encouraged.

So as you advance in your knowledge and your career, remember that the opportunities you enjoy were put in place by those who came before. Try and leave a legacy of learning for those that will come after you.

“We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.” – John of Salisbury

And next time you are on campus, look for the Lincoln and Morrill towers that were named to honor the giants that made our great university possible.