One of Abraham Lincoln’s lasting legacies — the Morrill Land-Grant Act, a law on using land proceeds to establish new schools — forever changed Americans’ access to higher education and had a profound effect on our great university.
The federal funding enabled the State of California to establish the Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College in 1866. Yet money was about all it had. On the other hand, the College of California, a private school in Oakland, had the reverse problem: 160 acres of land, teachers and students, and no money. The leaders from both colleges decided to join forces, and on March 23, 1868, Governor Henry H. Haight signed the act to create the University of California.