land-, sea- and space-grant institution
The University of New Hampshire was founded in 1866 as the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. One of the nation’s earliest land-grant institutions, it was endowed with public lands from the federal government to provide practical courses relevant to the state’s rural population.
In 1914, Congress created the Cooperative Extension Service, staffing each state’s counties with extension agents who could “extend” campus research to people throughout the state. In this way, land grant universities would serve not only the needs of formal students, but also those of each state’s citizens.
In 1966, responding to concerns about the nation’s marine and coastal resources, Congress established the National Sea Grant College Program. The term “Sea Grant” was chosen to emphasize the parallel between this new program focusing on the nation’s marine resources and the land grant program that had been established a century earlier to develop agricultural resources.
Similarly, in 1989, another university-based program, the National Space Grant and Fellowship Program, was formed within NASA, with UNH designation following in 1991.