“A Kingdom without a university looks like an anomaly. Education in this Kingdom is unquestionably on a respectable footing. The foundation of a Hawaiian national university is consequently not a chimerical idea.”
“The King and country should feel proud at the thought of a Hawaiian University lifting its head beside all the other universities of the world. The Curriculum, of course, would embrace the faculties of law, medicine and divinity.”
“A school of medicine is highly desirable here, as well as law school, and a regular school of divinity How is the Kingdom to be supplied with lawyers , doctors and divines?” (Pacific Commercial Advertiser, July 7, 1877)
On January 4, 1893, the Hawaii Bureau (later Board) of Agriculture and Forestry was established in the Kingdom of Hawaii. From the remnants of the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society (1850–1869), the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association was established in 1895, and during this period, the seeds of the US Agricultural Experiment Station were planted.
On May 25, 1900, Congress allocated money for reconnaissance and eventually to establish an agricultural experiment station in Hawai‘i. The investigation confirmed that establishing a federal research station in the Territory of Hawaii was appropriate, and on April 5, 1901, Jared Smith stepped off a ship in Honolulu to become its special agent in charge. (CTAHR)
The Farmers’ Institute, along with the Hawaiian Poultry Association, organized the Territorial Agricultural Exhibits in 1906 and 1908. Institute members also voted to petition the US Secretary of Agriculture to assign a tobacco expert to Hawai‘i and to assist in a soil survey.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t until thirty years after the editorial noted at the beginning that, “An act to establish the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts of the Territory of Hawai‘i” was passed by the Hawai‘i’s Territorial Legislature and was signed into law by Governor George Carter on March 25th, 1907.
The University of Hawaiʻi began as a land-grant college, initiated out of the 1862 US Federal Morrill Act funding for “land grant” colleges. Since the federal government could not “grant” land in Hawaiʻi as it did for most states, it provided a guarantee of $30,000 a year for several years, which increased to $50,000 for a time.
Cornell graduate John Gilmore, who had agriculture school experience in the Philippines and China took over as president. Gilmore was allowed to recruit faculty members, several of whom were Cornell graduates, thus establishing a “Cornell connection” that still exists today in the college. (CTAHR)
The regents chose the present campus location in lower Mānoa on June 19, 1907. In 1911, the name of the school was changed to the “College of Hawaiʻi.”
The campus was a relatively dry and scruffy place, “The early Mānoa campus was covered with a tangle of kiawe trees, wild lantana and panini cactus”.
The new College of Hawaii campus was also a working farm from the first day. A majority of the property, once cleared of rocks and brush, went to the college’s teaching farm. It appears the first structures built were a poultry shed and a dairy barn.
In 1912, the college moved to the present Mānoa location (the first permanent building is known today as Hawaiʻi Hall.) The first Commencement was June 3, 1912. On July 1, 1920, the College of Hawaiʻi became the University of Hawaiʻi.
On July 1, 1929, the US Agricultural Experiment Station came under joint management of USDA and the university, and all the federal employees who had been operating as federal extensions agents were transferred to the university. David Crawford, the university president, was also the first permanent director of extension under the newly formed relationship.
One of the most unique aspects of agricultural research and education in Hawai‘i, since the early 1900s, has been the cooperative relationship that prevailed among various entities concerned with creating successful agriculture in the Islands.
This included the US Agricultural Experiment Station, the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (now the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center), the Pineapple Research Institute, the Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry (now the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture), and the college and university (all within a few miles of each other.)
The founding of the Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture at UH in 1931 brought together educators from these organizations, as well as the Bishop Museum, to teach graduate students. The Agricultural Engineering Institute was a direct result of a successful collaboration among three research institutions in 1947. (CTAHR)
The College of Agriculture was established in 1947 when faculty from the Cooperative Extension Service and the Experiment Station merged with the agriculture and home economics teaching faculty in the College of Applied Science.
Twenty-three years later, it was renamed the College of Tropical Agriculture (emphasizing the tropical nature of Hawai‘i’s environment and agricultural commodities.)
In 1978, the Cooperative Extension Service and the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station were brought closer together to create the Hawaii Institute of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (HITAHR). Research and extension faculty were administratively included in the newly renamed College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR.)
One of the oldest artifacts of Hawai‘i’s Extension Service is ‘Minnie Lee’, the Extension hibiscus (a cross between the ‘Agnes Galt’ hibiscus and a “common yellow” variety.) This large yellow flower with a pinkish-red throat became a symbol of the program’s statewide outreach organization.
‘Minnie Lee’ was bred by Mr. AM Bush and first planted on Maui on May 25, 1929, about a year after the Extension Service officially started in Hawai‘i. It was named for the wife and daughter of William Lloyd, who came from Washington, DC for a year to formally establish the Extension Service. (Lots of information here is from CTAHR.)
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