Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

citizens of Boone County was accepted, and the farm and the site for the buildings were located. In 1860-61, the farm house and barn were erected. In 1862 Congress granted to the State 240,000 acres of land for the endowment of schools of agriculture and the mechanical arts, and 195,000 acres were located by Peter Melendy, Commissioner, in 1862-63. In 1864 the General Assembly appropriated $20,000 for the erection of the college building.

In June of that year the Building Committee proceeded to let the contract. The $20,000 appropriated by the General Assembly were expended in putting in the foundations and making the brick for the structure. An additional appropriation of $91,000 was made in 1866, and the building was completed in 1868.

Tuition in this college is made by law forever free to pupils from the State cver sixteen years of age, who have been resident of the State six months previuous to their admission. Each county in the State has a previous right of tuition for three scholars from each county; the remainder, equal to the capacity of the college, · are by the trustees distributed among the counties in proportion

to the population, and subject to the above rule. All sale of ardent spirits, wine or beer, is prohibited by law within a distance of three miles from the college, except for sacramental, mechanical or medical purposes.

The course of instruction in the Agricultural College embraces the following branches: Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Botany, Horticulture, Fruit Growing, Forestry, Animal and Vegetable Anatomy, Geology,

Geology, Mineralogy, Meteorology, Entomology, Zoology, the Veterinary Art, Plain Mensuration, Leveling, Surveying, Bookkeeping, and such Mechanical Arts as are directly connected with agriculture; also such other studies as the Trustees may, from time to time, prescribe, not inconsistent with the purposes of the institution. The funds arising from the lease and sale of lands, and interest on investments, are sufficient for the support of the institution.

The Board of Trustees, in 1881, was composed of Charles W. Tenney, Plymouth; George H. Wright, Sivux City; Henry G. Little, Grinnell; William McClintock, West Union; John N. Dixon, Oskaloosa. A. S. Welch, President of the Faculty, W. D. Lucas, Treasurer; E. W. Stanton, Secretary.

The Trustees are elected by the General Assembly, in joint convention, for four years, three being elected at one session and two the next.

THE STATE UNIVERSITY.

Iowa City, Johnson County. In the famous Ordinance of 1787, enacted by Congress before the Territory of the United States extended beyond the Mississippi River, it was declared that in all the territory northwest of

the Ohio River, "Schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” By act of Congress, approved July 20, 1840, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized "to set apart and reserve from sale, out of any of the public lands within the Territory of Iowa, to which the Indian title has been or may be extinguished, and not otherwise appropriated, a quantity of land, not exceeding the entire townships, for the use and support of a university within said Territory when it becomes a State, and for no other use or purpose whateverr; to be located in tracts of not less than an entire section, corresponding with any of the large divisions into which the public lands are authorized to be surveyed."

William W. Dodge, of Scott County, was appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury to make the selections. He selected Section 5, in Township 78, north of Range 3, east of the Fifth Principal Meridian, and then removed from the Territory. No more land were selected until 1846, when, at the request of the Assembly, John M. Whitaker, of Van Buren County, was appointed, who selected the remainder of the grant except about 122 acres.

In the first Constitution, under which Iowa was admitted to the Union, the people directed the disposition of the proceeds of this munificent grant in accordance with its terms, and instructed the General Assembly to provide, as soon as may be, effectual means for the improvement and permanent security of the funds of the University derived from the lands.

The first General Assembly, by act approved February 25, 1847, established the "State University of Iowa" at Iowa City, then the Capital of the State, “with such other branches as public convenience may hereafter require.” The “public buildings at Iowa City, together with the ten acres of land in which they are situated, were granted for the use of said University, provided, however, that the sessions of the Legislature and State offices should be held in the capitol until otherwise provided by law. The control and management of the University were committed to a Board of fifteen Trustees, to be appointed by the Legislature, five of whom were to be chosen biennially. The Superintendent of Public Instruction was made president of this Board. Provisions were made for the disposal of the two townships of land, and for the investment of the funds arising therefrom. The act further provides that the University shall never be under the exclusive control of any religious denomination whatever, and as soon as the revenue for the grant and donations amounts to $2,000 a year, the University should commence and continue the instruction, free of charge, of fifty students annually. The General Assembly retained full supervision over the Universi'y, it officers and the grants and donations made and to be made to it by the State.

The organization of the University at Iowa City was impracticable, however, so long as the seat of government was retained there.

In January, 1849, two branches of the University and three Normal Schools were established. The branches were locatedone at Fairfield, and the other at Dubuque, and were placed upon an equal footing, in respect to funds and all other matters, with the University established at Iowa City. "This act,” says Col. Benton, "created three State Universities, with equal rights and powers, instead of a University with such branches as public convenience may hereafter demand,' as provided by the Constitution.

The Board of Directors of the Fairfield Branch consisted of Barnet Ristine, Christian W. Slagle, Daniel Rider, Horace Gaylord, Bernhart Henn and Samuel S. Bayard. At the first meeting of the Board Mr. Henn was elected President, Mr. Slagle Secretary, and Mr. Gaylord Treasurer. Twenty acres of land were purchased, and a building erected thereon, costing $2,500. This building was nearly destroyed by a hurricane, in 1850, but was rebuilt more substantially, all by contributions of the citizens of Fairfield. This branch never received any aid from the State or from the University Fund, and by act approved January 24, 1853, at the request of the Board, the General Assembly terminated its relation to the State.

The branch at Dubuque was placed under the control of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Trustees never organized, and its existence was only nominal.

The Normal Schools were located at Andrew, Oskaloosa and Mount Pleasant, respectively. Each was to be governed by a board of seven Trustees, to be appointed by the Trustees of the University. Each was to receive $500 annually from the income of the University fund, upon condition that they should educate eight common school teachers, free of charge for tuition, and that the citizens should contribute an equal sum for the erection of the requisite buildings. The several Boards of Trustees were appointed. At Andrew, the school was organized November 21, 1849. A building was commenced and over $1,000 expended on it, but it was never completed. At Oskaloosa, the Trustees organized in April, 1852. This school was opened in the Court House, September 13, 1852. A two-story brick building was completed in 1853, costing $2,473. The school at Mount Pleasant was never organized. Neither of these schools received any aid from the University fund, but in 1857 the Legislature appropriated $1,000 each for those at Oskaloosa and Andrew, and repealed the law authorizing the payment of money to them from the University fund. From that time they made no further effort to continue in operation.

At a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, held February 21, 1850, the "College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Upper Mississippi," established at Davenport, was recognized as the "College of Physicians and Surgeons of the State University of Iowa,"

1

expressly stipulating, however, that such recognition should not render the University liable for any pecuniary aid, nor was the Board to have any control over the property or management of the Medical Association. Soon after, this College was removed to Keokuk, its second session being opened there in November, 1850. In 1851, the General Assembly confirmed the action of the Board, and by act approved January 22, 1855, placed the Medical College under the supervision of the Board of Trustees of the University, and it continued in operation until this arrangement was terminated by the new Constitution, September 3, 1857.

From 1847 to 1855, the Board of Trustees was kept full by regular elections by the Legislature, and the Trustees held frequent meetings, but there was no effectual organization of the University. In March, 1855, it was partially opened for a term of sixteen weeks. July 16, 1855, Amos Dean, of Albany, N. Y., was elected President, but he never entered fully upon its duties. The University was again opened in September, 1055, and continued in operation until June, 1856, under Professors Johnson, Welton, Van Valkenburg and Guffin.

In the Spring of 1856 the capital of the State was located at Des Moines; but there were no buildings there, and the capitol at Iowa City was not vacated by the State until December, 1857.

In June, 1856, the faculty was re-organized, with some changes, and the University was again opened on the third Wednesday of September, 1856. There were one hundred and twenty-four students--eighty-three males and forty-one females in attendance during the year 1856-7, and the first regular catalogue was published.

Article IX, Section 11, of the new State Constitution, which went into force Sept. 3, 1857, provided as follows:

The State University shall be established at one place, without branches at any other place; and the University fund shall be applied to that institution, and no other.

Article XI, Section 8, provided that

The seat of government is hereby permanently established, as now_fixed by law, at the city of Des Moines, in the county of Polk; and the State University at Iowa City, in the county of Johnson.

The new Constitution created the Board of Education, consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor, who was ex-officio President, and one member to be elected from each judicial district in the State. This Board was endowed with "full power and authority to legislate and make all needful rules and regulations in relation to common schools and other educational institutions," subject to alteration, amendment or repeal by the General Assembly, which was vested with authority to abolish or re-organize the Board at any time after 1863.

In December, 1857, the old capitol building, now known as Central Hall of the University, except the rooms occupied by the United States District Court, and the property, with that excep

tion, passed under the control of the Trustees, and became the seat of the University. The old building had had hard usage, and its arrangement was illy adapted for University purposes. Extensive repairs and changes were necessary, but the Board was without funds for these purposes.

The last meeting of the Board, under the old law, was held in January, 1858. At this meeting a resolution was introduced, and seriously considered, to exclude females from the University; but it finally failed.

March 12, 1858, the first Legislature under the new Constitution enacted a new law in relation to the University, but it was not materially different from the former. March 11, 1858, the Legislature appropriated $3,000 for the repair and modification of the old capitol building, and $10,000 for the erection of a boarding house, now known as South Hall.

The Board of Trustees created by the new law met and duly organized April 27, 1858, and determined to close the University until the income from its funds should be adequate to meet the current expenses, and the buildings should be ready for occupation. Until this term, the building known as the “Mechanics' Academy" had been used for the school. The Faculty, except the Chancellor (Dean), was dismissed, and all further instruction suspended, from the close of the term then in progress until September, 1859. At this meeting, a resolution was adopted excluding females from the University after the close of the existing term; but this was afterward, in August, modified, so as to admit them to the Normal Department.

An "Act for the Government and Regulation of the State University of Iowa," approved December 25, 1858, was mainly a reenactment of the law of March 12, 1858, except that changes were made in the Board of Trustees, and manner of their appointment. This law provided that both sexes were to be admitted on equal terms to all departments of the institution, leaving the Board no discretion in the matter.

At the annual meeting June 28, 1860, a full Faculty was appointed, and the University re-opened, under this new organization, September 19, 1860 (third Wednesday); and at this date the actual existence of the University may be said to commence.

August 19, 1862, Dr. Totten having resigned, Prof. Oliver M. Spencer was elected President and the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon Judge Samuel F. Miller, of Keokuk.

At the commencement, in June, 1863, was the first class of graduates in the Collegiate Department.

The Board of Education was abolished March 19, 1864 and the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction was restored; the General Assembly resumed control of the subject of education, and on March 21 an act was approved for the government of the University. It was substantially the same as the former law, but

« ForrigeFortsett »