PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University President Samuel Smith will receive a national award Sunday (Nov. 15) named for the founder of the country’s land-grant university system, of which WSU is a part.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Services selected Smith for the 1998 Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award, said Dan Glickman, U.S. Agriculture secretary.
Glickman says the award praises WSU’s Smith for “demonstrated leadership in higher education and … significant contributions to promoting excellence in higher education in the food and agricultural sciences.”
The honor comes during the 100th anniversary year of the death of Morrill, a Vermont native and U.S. Senator who lived from 1810-1898. As a U.S. Representative, Morrill introduced a bill, later signed by President Abraham Lincoln, creating “people’s universities” in every state.
As part of the honor, Smith will deliver the Justin Smith Morrill Lecture Nov. 15 in Atlanta at the Board on Agriculture Plenary Session, part of the annual National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges meeting. In his address, Smith will discuss extending Morrill’s vision for the 21st century in access, innovation, technology and the student learning experience.
Smith, who became WSU’s eighth president in 1985, is recognized nationally as a leader in distance education and in the use of technology to assist teaching. He is a member of the NASULGC’s Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. The commission is planning for change and improvement of state universities and land-grant colleges for the 21st century.
During his administration, WSU has increased access to higher education by establishing branch campuses in the Tri-Cities, Spokane, and Vancouver; opening numerous Learning Centers; and developing an award-winning Extended Degree Program which uses a variety of technologies to serve students in the state of Washington and around the nation.

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