History of the Bumpers College


Vintage portrait of 1862 college dean W.G. Vincenheller.
W.G. Vincenheller
Hugh Ellis Morrow

Hugh Ellis Morrow was the first University of Arkansas graduate to receive a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree. He was one of 30 U of A graduates in the Class of 1904. The college was formally established in 1905 with W.G. Vincenheller as dean.

Producing college graduates with training in scientific agriculture was one of the mandates of the Arkansas Industrial University when it was established in 1872 under terms of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862.

The faculty at what soon became the University of Arkansas (in 1899) offered courses in agricultural sciences, but few students enrolled in what was then a radical departure from standard university curriculum. A college of agriculture was part of the initial organizational structure, but it didn't come to fruition until 1905.

Public pressure to produce agricultural graduates was a major factor in a reorganization of the university in 1886 with increased emphasis on agriculture courses.

The Barker Bill passed by the Legislature in 1887 outlined a complete course of agricultural studies and required all male students to work on the university farm.

In 1888, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station was established by the Legislature to conduct research, with the help of federal funding under the Hatch Act of 1887. The experiment station made the public more aware of opportunities to study agriculture at the university and the benefits of scientific agriculture. It also allowed faculty members to teach courses. As enrollment slowly increased, the goal of a College of Agriculture drew nearer at the dawn of the 20th Century. In 1904, Hugh Ellis Morrow of Fayetteville became the first UA graduate to receive the Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree. The College of Agriculture was established the next fall, in 1905. The first dean was W.G. Vincenheller, who was already director of the experiment station.

The statewide Cooperative Extension Service, established in 1915 as part of the college, completed the infrastructure for the three-part mission of the land-grant university in agriculture: resident teaching, research and service.

The college was renamed College of Agriculture and Home Economics in 1954 and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences in 1995. Also in 1995, the home economics department was renamed the School of Human Environmental Sciences and remained a unit of the college.



History of Bumpers College
History of the Bumpers College

Condensed History

The College's rich history is detailed in a book.

History of the Bumpers College

By Gary Zellar and Nancy Wyatt.

• Illustrated with black and white photos, this history unabashedly portrays the personalities and times that decided the course of the College in the late 19th century and through the 20th century.