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Mississippi State University Smithsonian Folklife Festival
  • MSU ecoCAR


  • Soldiers on the Drill Field

    Soldiers standing on the Drill Field in front of Old Main

  • Students in Front of Airplane

    Student-built model of the National Aerospace Plane, 1992

  • Students in Front of Chalkboard

    Early 1900's math class

  • Thermal Photography Gallery

    Thermal imaging as art

150 Years of the Land-Grant Heritage

Celebrating the historic Morrill Act, enacted in 1862 and leading to the establishment of land-grant colleges and universities, the June 27-July 8 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., will highlight accomplishments of land-grants around the nation. Mississippi State University will be one of 17 universities represented on the mall during the nearly two-week event. If you’re in the area, plan to join us.

Smithsonian Folklife Festival Smithsonian Folklife Festival MSU Land-Grant Timeline MSU Land-Grant Timeline

The Modern Land-Grant

A Changing University

The Morrill Act established a class of colleges that received grants of public lands to provide training and scholarship in production and marketing of agricultural products, as well as ways to enhance industry. Mississippi A&M was established as a land-grant in 1878. Today, Mississippi State University has evolved into a Carnegie Very High Research Institution that is using the tools of high-performance computing, biotechnology, and materials science to continue the land-grant mission.

MSU at the Folklife Festival

Mississippi State is highlighting three of its outstanding programs to illustrate the technologies, contributions, and service of today’s land-grant. Two will be located in the Reinventing Agriculture area on the southwest corner of the mall; one, in the Sustainable Solutions area on the northeast sector of the mall.

Sustainable Solutions

EcoCAR: Maroon is the New Green
Maroon is the new green thanks to Mississippi State University’s growing tradition of sustainable energy research. With its competition successes and engineering achievements, the Bulldog’s advanced vehicle technology student design team is a large part of that tradition. Its latest creation is a re-engineered Cross-over vehicle that earns more than 118 mpg and has a 60-mile all-electric driving range.


MSU students, standing around the award winning EcoCAR, proudly display their awards

EcoCAR: Fun Facts
MSU’s re-engineered vehicle earns more than 118 mpg and has a 60-mile all electric driving range.

Mississippi State University won the first-place EcoCAR Competition in 2010 with their hybrid Cross-over vehicle.

The MSU team’s SUV can accelerate from 0-60 MPH in 5.76 seconds and 50-70 MPH time of 2.80 seconds.

In a similar DOE competition called Challenge X, MSU’s team won the overall national competition in 2008 with a modified Chevrolet Equinox that the students designed and built.

The students started their project with a factory standard SUV donated by General Motors. After creating in-depth simulations and virtual models, they replaced its standard engine with extended range plug-in hybrid technology. The resulting automobile can be charged on a standard electrical outlet, drive in all-electric mode for 60 miles, and then continue on its journey with a small diesel engine and regenerative braking to recharge its battery while in use. The dual fuel platform ensures that the vehicle is functional for both day-to-day driving and long distance trips.

Mississippi State’s EcoCAR was created as part of the ongoing series of Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions sponsored by the Department of Energy, in which competitively selected university team re-engineer a designated automobile to improve its fuel economy and reduce emissions while maintaining performance, safety and consumer appeal. Since it began competition, the Mississippi State team has consistently ranked as one of the leading teams. The team’s next project will be part of the EcoCAR2 competition to re-engineer a Chevrolet Malibu.

At the Festival, visitors can expect informative and fun, hands-on activities that explore sustainability issues, such as energy consumption, transportation choices and potential alternative energy solutions. Through these activities, young people and their parents will gain an understanding of the reduce, reuse, and recycle concept and of essential skills needed for sustainable living. Bagley College of Engineering

Reinventing Agriculture

Mobile Veterinary Clinic
Every eight seconds one animal is euthanized in the United States, and millions of tax dollars are spent annually to shelter and care for unwanted pets. Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is tackling this problem head–on, while also educating the next generation of veterinarians. Through the Mobile Shelter Medicine Program, CVM students, under the supervision of faculty, provide free spay and neuter services to animal shelters in North Mississippi. In addition to providing unique learning opportunities for students, the program seeks to decrease the number of unwanted animals through performing spay and neuter surgeries and helping shelters facilitate adoptions.

Mobile Veterinary Clinic

Mississippi State Mobile Veterinary Clinic

The mobile unit will be driven up to Washington, D.C. to teach attendees at this year’s Smithsonian FolkLife Festival how they can be a part of improving the health and well-being of our nation’s pets.

Attendees can take tours of the unit and learn more about animal shelter medicine. Current CVM students will be on hand to talk one-on-one with festival-goers about pet overpopulation issues and how the veterinary community is addressing the problem.

CVM students will also facilitate hands-on activities for children such as listening to a model dog’s heartbeat through a stethoscope. The faculty and students staffing the festival are excited about this unique opportunity to share their spirit of lifelong community service with visitors from around the world.

College of Veterinary Medicine

Thermal Imaging
Thermal imaging—or thermography—allows the detection and capture of images that visualize temperature gradients or radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

It’s a non-invasive technique that allows the examiner to quantify changes in surface temperature through the detection of the infrared emissions, creating a thermal map by remote sensing. Specialized cameras capture temperature gradients and produce images showing the temperature variations.

Why is this important? Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging(DITI) has been used to diagnose a wide range of disease, developmental, and injury-related conditions in humans, plants, livestock, and other species through the identification of thermal body surface temperature gradients.

With support from the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station (MAFES), thermography has been used for the detection of late pregnancy in large herbivores, as well as to assess lactational performance, lameness, and environmental effects, such as heat stress, on animal management.

Thermography also has been used in environmental studies of wetland areas, wild bird studies, and the assessment of training in athletic performance. Because the technology is non-invasive, it represents a valuable resource for the physiological, environmental, and clinical monitoring of a wide range of captive species.

The Folklife Festival display will be an interactive opportunity to explore the technology.

Thermal Imaging

Taking a thermal image of a horse

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

MSU’s National Land-Grant Conference

Mississippi State will commemorate the 150th anniversary of land-grants with an Oct. 3-6 conference titled “Thinking Land Grants: A ‘Cerebration’ of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Land-Grant Act.”

Approximately 40 historians from around the U.S. will explore the ramifications of land-grants, how they rose, and what they have contributed over time. Keynote speaker for the event will be Dr. M. Peter McPherson, President, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and former President, Michigan State University.

For more, contact

Morrill Land Grant Act

Land-Grant Timeline

U.S. Department of Agriculture established as a cabinet-level department

The Morrill Act established a nationwide system of colleges called the land-grant system, endowed by grants of public lands.


1862 photo
1871 photo


Mississippi became a part of the land-grant system with the first assignment of funding to Alcorn University and the University of Mississippi.

Mississippi A&M in Starkville was established as Mississippi’s land-grant institution.


1878 photo
1887 photo


The Hatch Act established the agricultural experiment station system, with a focus on applied research.

The Mississippi legislature passed the experiment station act. State Sen. J.Z. George (namesake of George Hall at Mississippi State) helped lay much of the groundwork by introducing the first experiment station bill in 1885.


1888 photo
1890 photo


The Second Morrill Act provided direct support to each state for land-grants.

The state legislature appropriated funds for a “mechanical” curriculum at Mississippi A&M


1892 photo
1902 photo


The School of Engineering was established.

The Smith-Lever Act established the cooperative extension system to make knowledge directly available to farmers and farm families.


1914 photo
1918 photo


The Mississippi legislature assigned responsibility for extension work to Mississippi A&M College.

Mississippi A&M became Mississippi State College.


1932 photo
1954 photo


A separate School of Forest Resources was established at Mississippi State.

Mississippi State College became Mississippi State University.


1958 photo
1961 photo


The position of vice president for the agricultural division was established at Mississippi State.

The McIntire-Stennis Forestry Act was passed, further establishing the importance of commercial forests.


1962 photo
1964 photo


The Mississippi legislature, recognizing the significance of 17 million acres of commercial forestry to the state, established the Forest Products Utilization Laboratory at Mississippi State.

The Mississippi legislature approved the establishment of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State.


1974 photo
1977 photo


The MSU Extension Service’s 30-minute Farmweek TV program debuted statewide on Mississippi public broadcasting stations. Devoted to agriculture and rural life, Farmweek is the longest-running program of its type in the nation.

The Forest and Wildlife Research Center was established by the legislature.


1994 photo
2002 photo


With a $25 million gift, the College of Engineering became the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering.

Mississippi State received a “Very High Research” designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In FY 2010, the university secured $201 million in external research funding. Among all institutions--public and private--the university's expenditures in agricultural sciences ranked 7th nationally, with engineering 34th.


2011 photo