Book Talk: The People's Colleges

Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Mann Library, Room 160 Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Challenged by recent economic changes, is higher education turning into a private rather than public good? Obligations to the people were implicit in the designation of Cornell University as New York State’s land grant college on April 27, 1865. Almost three years before, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land Grant Act during dark days of the Civil War. Cornell continues its land-grant mission today, meeting ever-changing needs of communities with the Extension Service.

Ruby Green Smith’s book The People’s Colleges: A History of the New York State Extension Service in Cornell University and the State, 1876-1948, written more than 60 years ago, is essential reading for anyone working in higher education who shares a commitment to strengthening public engagement.

Join Helene Dillard, Scott Peters, and Jane Mt.Pleasant in a Chats in the Stacks book talk about the important lessons Smith teaches us. The book, re-released by Fall Creek Books in January 2013 to celebrate Cornell’s sesquicentennial, has a new foreword by Dillard and a new preface by Peters that explains the cultural significance of the extension’s mission.

Dr. Helene R. Dillard is associate dean and director of Cornell Cooperative Extension. Dr. Scott J. Peters is co-director of a national consortium called Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, professor in the Cultural Foundations of Education department at Syracuse University, and associate professor of Education at Cornell University (on leave). Dr. Jane Mt.Pleasant is an associate professor in the department of Horticulture, and current faculty member and past director of the American Indian Program at Cornell.

Light refreshments and book signing will follow. This book talk is funded by the Mary A. Morrison Public Education Fund at Mann.

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Author Appearance


Cornell University Library, Mann Library, Cornell Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


education, Cooperative Extension, history, American studies, Cornell University Library, Mann Library, CUL, book talk, rural development, ccelr, CALScomm, hp, horticulture



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Lynn Bertoia

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Helene Dillard, Scott J. Peters, Jane Mt.Pleasant

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