This is an excerpt from the book Hawai‘i's College of Tropical Agriculture and
Human Resources: Celebrating the First 100 Years.
Barry M. Brennan and James R. Hollyer
The president, faculty, and staff of the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts did not have it easy. In 1907, there was no strong groundswell of support for a college, even though the need for one in the Hawaiian Islands had been discussed for over 50 years. As early as July 7, 1877, an editorial in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser stated that a kingdom without a university was an anomaly. Fifteen years later, Representative Luther Kanealii’s bill to establish a college in the Hawaiian Kingdom was tabled on the grounds that the time was not yet ripe for establishing such an institution. It would take 15 more years before social, political, and economic conditions aligned to make that vision a reality.
A major financial incentive came when Hawai‘i became a territory of the United States in 1900. It now was eligible to apply for federal funds to establish a land grant college. The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 typically provided for both land (for the college or to be sold to support a college) and up to $25,000 annually to support a land grant college in every U.S. state and territory "to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts…." Awareness of that provision prompted the introduction of proposals to establish a college in the 1901, 1903, 1905, and 1907 Territorial Legislatures.
Wallace Farrington, editor of the Evening Bulletin and future territorial governor, was the champion of efforts to create a college. After considerable maneuvering by Farrington, a bill was introduced by Maui Representative William Coelho on March 1, 1907 to "Establish the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of the Territory of Hawai‘i and to Provide for the Government and Support Thereof." On March 23, 1907, Governor George Carter signed Act 24 of the Territorial Legislature establishing the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of the Territory of Hawai‘i.
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More about the book Hawai‘i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources:
Celebrating the First 100 Years.
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