From Ohio History Central
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| image = [[File:Ohio State University Aerial View.jpg]]
| caption = Aerial view of the Ohio State University campus
including the oval and the football stadium, Columbus, Ohio, ca. 1935-1943.
<p>In 1870, the Ohio General Assembly chartered the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. Governor Rutherford B. Hayes appointed a board of trustees for the institution and construction began in northern Columbus for the college's first building. The Ohio legislature utilized funds from the sale of land acquired under the Morrill Act to finance the institution. In 1862, the United States government approved the Morrill Act. This piece of legislation authorized the federal government to give each state and territory that had not seceded from the United States during the American Civil War thirty thousand acres of land for each United States Senator and Representative currently serving in the U.S. Congress. The individual states were to utilize this land to establish colleges that taught agriculture and mechanical arts. Ohio received a total of 630,000 acres of land as a result of the Morrill Act, and the state legislature sold the land for a total profit of $342,450.80.</p>
<p>The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College opened its doors on September 17, 1873. The college's trustees located the institution on the Neil farm, approximately two miles north of Columbus's city limits. This site was chosen for several reasons. First, Columbus was central to the state and easily accessible to most state residents thanks to canals and railroads. Second, this more rural location would prevent students from frequenting bars and gambling houses located within Columbus'
s boundaries. Finally, a spring existed on the Neil farm, which would provide campus residents with an adequate water source.</p>
<p>Although the institution was to enhance Ohioans' knowledge of agricultural and mechanical practices, originally a majority of the trustees and faculty at the school placed more emphasis on a liberal arts education, frustrating the members of the Ohio Board of Agriculture. Norton Townshend, the Board of Agriculture's secretary, favored a "narrow gauge" education, with the college and its faculty providing instruction in new agricultural techniques. Joseph Sullivant, a member of the board of trustees, preferred a "broad gauge" education. Under this type of system, the college would offer agricultural and mechanical courses but also would provide students with courses in English, foreign languages, political science, history, and numerous other fields. This broader curriculum triumphed in the end and led the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, in 1878, to change its name to The Ohio State University to reflect the wide range of courses offered at the institution. The first class was made up of twenty-five students, including two women. By 1877, more than two hundred students attended the school.</p>
<p>The university continued to grow in the late nineteenth century. Beginning in 1879, the school began to offer free agricultural lectures to the community. Three years later, the state legislature authorized funds for the Agricultural Experiment Station, which later became known as the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and is now located in Wooster, Ohio. The university also began to offer graduate degrees, awarding the first M.A. degree in 1886 and the first doctorate in 1890. In 1891, Ohio State opened a law school on campus. By the end of the nineteenth century, more than one thousand students were enrolled.</p>