From the Annals of Higher Learning – In 1876, Gov. Richard Coke dedicated the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas now known as Texas A&M University. It was the state’s first public college. TAMU’s origins trace back to the Morrill Act of 1862. This act provided for donation of public land to the states for the purpose of funding higher education whose “leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and mechanic arts.” In November 1866, Texas agreed to create a college under the terms of the Morrill Act. Actual formation did not occur until the establishment of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas by the Texas state legislature on April 17, 1871. A commission created to locate the institution accepted the offer of 2,416 acres of land from the citizens of Brazos County in 1871. Admission was limited to white males who, as required by the Morrill Act, were required to participate in military training.