Reps. Newhouse, Peterson Lead 52 Members to Introduce Congressional Gold Medal Bill Honoring Justin Smith Morrill, Founder of Land-Grant Universities

Feb 12, 2016 Issues: Congressional Issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) led 52 other Members to introduce H.R. 4520, a bipartisan resolution recognizing the legacy of Justin Smith Morrill, the founder of the land-grant university system, by posthumously awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal.

“As a farmer and graduate of Washington State University, I am personally grateful, along with the millions of men and women who have attended land-grant universities, for the legacy of the Honorable Justin Smith Morrill,” said Rep. Newhouse. “Morrill was a visionary statesman whose work provided millions with access to higher education across our country. His many contributions to the fabric of the American education system and culture deserve the distinction of a Congressional Gold Medal. Justin Smith Morrill’s many accomplishments will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come.”

“The land-grant university system established by Justin Smith Morrill plays an important role in agricultural research, extension and educational programs. Through land-grant universities, researchers have been able to help farmers increase productivity, prevent plant and animal disease, improve human nutrition and health, and discover and utilize new technologies. I am pleased to honor Justin Smith Morrill’s legacy,” Peterson said.


The Honorable Justin Smith Morrill (April 14, 1810 – December 28, 1898), the son of a blacksmith and farmer, was born in Strafford, Vermont. He prospered as a merchant and businessman in his early years and served in public office the remainder of his life. Morrill was elected to six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1855-1867) and six terms in the United States Senate (1867-1898), making him the longest serving Member of Congress in the 19th Century. During his tenure, he chaired the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds.

In Congress, he authored his namesake, the Morrill Act of 1862 which created the land-grant university system. Today, land-grant and other public universities award nearly 1 million degrees annually and perform more than $37 billion in research. In 1890, he authored the second Morrill Act, which created historically black land-grant universities (that recently celebrated their 125th anniversary). As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Buildings and Grounds, he served as the principle advocate for financing and constructing the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress and planned the location of the U.S. Supreme Court Building. He also raised funds to complete the unfinished Washington Monument and advocated for the Smithsonian Institution throughout his service in Congress.

For the text of the resolution, click here.

Introduced by Reps. Newhouse and Peterson, additional cosponsors include:

1.            Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA)

2.            Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)

3.            Rep. Brad Ashford (D-NE)

4.            Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)

5.            Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI)

6.            Rep. Mike Bishop (R-MI)

7.            Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL)

8.            Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO)

9.            Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)

10.          Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO)

11.          Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)

12.          Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX)

13.          Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA)

14.          Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)

15.          Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)

16.          Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA)

17.          Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

18.          Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH)

19.          Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-NY)

20.          Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

21.          Rep. Gwen Graham (D-FL)

22.          Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)

23.          Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL)

24.          Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX)

25.          Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)

26.          Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)

27.          Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS)

28.          Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)

29.          Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)

30.          Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)

31.          Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)

32.          Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)

33.          Rep. James P. McGovern (D-MA)

34.          Rep. Ann Kuster (D-NH)

35.          Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)

36.          Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)

37.          Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)

38.          Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN)

39.          Rep. Steve Pearce (D-NM)

40.          Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)

41.          Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN)

42.          Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)

43.          Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA)

44.          David Scott (D-GA)

45.          Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)

46.          Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO)

47.          Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA)

48.          Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX)

49.          Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

50.          Rep. Timothy Walz (D-MN)

51.          Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

52.          Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL)