Texas A&M University

Sul Ross Statue

Sul Ross Statue in front of Academic Building

Photo by Ronw526, CC 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Bonfire Memorial

Bonfire Memorial, Texas A&M University

Photo by Carol M. Highsmith, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Product photo
Promotion: Nearby Map of Brazos County

Texas A&M University is the state's oldest public institution of higher education. The Eleventh Texas Legislature approved a joint resolution on November 1, 1866, accepting the terms of the federal government's Morrill Land-Grant College Act of July 2, 1862, which provided for the donation of public lands in a quantity equal to 30,000 acres for each senator and representative in Congress to a state for the establishment of at least one college "where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts." Although the Morrill Land-Grant College Act provided the immediate impetus for the establishment of Texas A&M University, there were earlier and subsequent land grants from the Republic of Texas and the state of Texas that directly affected the development of the school.

The Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas donated fifty leagues of land (221,400 acres) for the endowment of two colleges or universities in 1839. The state legislature approved enabling legislation in 1856 providing for the sale of university lands and for the establishment of the Permanent University Fund. No public universities were built before the outbreak of the Civil War. Following the war and the acceptance of the Morrill Act, the Constitutional Convention of 1866 provided for an additional endowment of one million acres of public land for one or more state universities. This was followed in 1883 by an additional grant of one million acres of state land. Thus, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas became both a federal and Texas land-grant college. Under the terms of the Morrill Act, donated lands from the federal government were to be drawn from the public lands within the states receiving the grants, but where no such lands existed, as was true in Texas, the Secretary of the Interior issued scrip entitling the state to claim unappropriated public lands in the territories. Texas received title to 180,000 acres of land in Colorado on February 16, 1871. The land was sold for seventy-five cents an acre and produced $156,000 that was then invested in 7 percent gold frontier defense bonds of Texas, which, with the discount, had a face value of $174,000. The state legislature approved a bill providing for the organization of the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College on April 17, 1871, and appropriated $75,000 for the construction of academic buildings and suitable accommodations. Governor Edmund J. Davis appointed a committee of three to find a suitable location for the college on a site comprising not less than 1,280 acres of land. That committee selected a site near Bryan, Texas, following the donation of 2,416 acres of land to the college by local citizens.

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Henry C. Dethloff | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Adopted by: Alan Sandersen
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Until: April 17th, 2025

Belongs to

Texas A&M University is part of or belongs to the following places:

Date of Founding Notes

Classes first held in 1876 as Agricultural and Mechanical of Texas; current name,1963; includes College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Medicine at College Station


  • President, Dr. M. Katherine Banks 2021–2023
  • Interim President, General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III 2023–Present

Currently Exists


Place type

Texas A&M University is classified as a College or University

Associated Names

  • (TAMU)

External Websites

Fall Faculty Count, 2019 View more »


Fall Enrollment Count, 2022 View more »