October 25, 2022

A date that looms large in Aggieland’s history is 1862, when the U.S. Congress passed the Morrill Act, providing the means to establish universities devoted to agricultural and mechanical education, plus military training. As all Aggies know, this piece of legislation led to the founding of Texas A&M University in 1876.

But 1914 saw one of the university’s central values established. The Smith-Lever Act added annual funding for the upkeep and maintenance of land-grant universities and something else—obligations to “education, research and extension.” The idea was that land-grant universities should share their research with the public for the greater
good. With this, the staunch commitment to service—to the community, state and country—was implanted into Texas A&M’s DNA.

Aggieland has evolved over the years. The military requirement was dropped in 1965. Women joined the Corps of Cadets in 1974. The university is now the sixth largest in the country. But through the decades, the school’s emphasis on teaching, research and service has grown even stronger. It’s a sensibility that still informs and inspires crucial initiatives throughout the university, as noted in the timeline below. And thanks to the Aggies and friends of Texas A&M who support those initiatives, Aggieland remains steadfast in its roots, honoring its unique heritage every day.

A Timeline of Aggie Land-Grant Greatness


1876 - Howdy, Texas A&M

The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas formally opens 14 years after President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Act and five years after Brazos County citizens
donate 2,416 acres. With only six students enrolled for its opening day on Oct. 2, the university delays its start until Oct. 4, with six faculty members and 40 students in attendance.

Did you know?

From 1876 to the late 1920s, students were nicknamed “Farmers,” but “Aggies” soon gained popularity and became the official student body nickname in 1949.

1887 - Texans Helping Texans

The Texas Agricultural Experiment Station (today’s Texas A&M AgriLife Research) is established as a college division under the Hatch Act provisions. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is added in 1915 as a network to disseminate research to help Texans better their lives.

1914 - World-Class Solutions

The Texas Engineering Experiment Station is organized to conduct engineering- and technology- oriented research. The Engineering Extension Service (today’s Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, or TEEX) is added in 1948 and creates some of the world’s top training facilities and resources to strengthen fire safety and emergency response efforts; provide cleaner drinking water and better roads; and improve homeland security and public safety.

# 2021 TEEX By the Numbers

  • 138,025 participants served worldwide
  • 131 countries served
  • 6,054 total classes

1971 - Aggies Navigate the Texas Coast

Texas A&M becomes one of four sea-grant colleges in the nation. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Texas Sea Grant is headquartered in College Station and strives “to improve the understanding, wise use, and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.”

1972 - A Service Salute

The Naval ROTC program is established, making Texas A&M the only campus in the nation where a student can obtain a commission in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy or Air Force. The university began offering ROTC programs in 1916, graduating officers who have served in every major U.S. conflict since its founding.

Did you know?

In 2002, Gov. Rick Perry ’72 signed an executive order designating Texas A&M as the Military College of Texas.

1989 - Out-of-This-World Opportunities

Texas A&M becomes a space-grant university as NASA initiates the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, a national network of colleges and universities
dedicated to expanding opportunities for Americans to participate in NASA projects.

1997 - Creating Public Servants

The Bush School of Government and Public Service is founded on President George H.W. Bush’s philosophy that “public service is a noble calling.” In the 25 years that
follow, the school grows to offer eight graduate and five certificate programs for tomorrow’s public servants and becomes a leading public and international affairs graduate institution.

Bush School Rankings

  • Top 25 in Public Affairs Programs, U.S. News & World Report,2023
  • 1st in the nation for best value for a residential Master of Public Administration degree, Value Colleges, 2021
  • 5th among public universities nationally for Homeland Security, U.S. News & World Report, 2023

2010 - Scholars Find a Home in Aggieland

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents establishes the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study to bring world-class talent to Aggieland. The institute primarily invites National Academy and Nobel Prize-caliber researchers who align with the university’s existing strengths and ambitions.

2012 - Innovation Station

The Texas A&M University System wins a federal contract to create a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM), allowing the university to become a national hub for vaccine production and bioterror preparedness. The contract creates more than 1,000 new jobs in College Station.

Did you know?

Texas Monthly featured Texas A&M’s CIADM in May 2021 for its lifesaving efforts in creating key ingredients for COVID-19 vaccines.

2017 - Aggies Crack the Code

The National Security Agency (NSA) designates Texas A&M as a Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) in cyber operations. Alongside the previous CAE designations in  education and research, Texas A&M is one of eight universities nationwide to hold all three NSA distinctions.