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AGRICULTURE COLLEGE GREW INTO USU

Exactly 100 years ago, in the spring of 1891, students and faculty of the Agricultural College of Utah gathered for a photo. Fifty-two posed for the shot.

Women were in the front in long dresses, hair piled atop their heads. Those in the front row were seated; another row of women stood behind them. Eighteen in all. Four of the women wore hats. One was undoubtedly librarian Mrs. C.I. Goodwin and one was domestic arts teacher Abbie L. Marlatt.To the right of the row of standing women, stood a graybearded man replete with coat, vest and bow tie.

Jeremiah Wilson Sanborn, the first president of what was to become Utah State University, and the first director of the Utah Experiment Station.

Sanborn came to Logan after successfully upping the $2,500 a year offer from the trustees to a whopping $3000 a year. He agreed to a six-month trial contract and was elected president of the nine-person faculty, which included himself, the librarian and the farm superintendent. Sanborn stayed until 1894.

In August a hundred years ago, Sanborn reported to the secretary of agriculture that the college opened with 22 students and had grown to 139 - 106 men and 33 women.

There were classes in algebra, higher arithmetic, bookkeeping, civil engineering, cooking, drawing, English literature, elocution and reading, French for women, since it was the language of diplomacy, and German for men since that language had the most published research material on agriculture.

There were also classes in grammar, higher grammar, history, horticulture, penmanship, physical geography, political economy, rhetoric, sewing and shop work in iron and wood, Sanborn reported.

The college had an 85-acre farm, "a new fine and model barn with all of the modern conveniences for various classes of stock and crops, adapted for experiment work in animal nutrition," the president wrote. "This building cost $6,000."

But that wasn't all.

A century ago in its infancy, the college had a model farmhouse; the president's residence, which cost $4,500; an experiment station laboratory costing $4,700; and a $20,000 club or boarding house accommodating 75 students and two cottages - no cost listed.

Sanborn wrote, "I find that we have seven buildings valued at $63,000, furniture and museum specimens and tools, apparatus and library valued at $25,000 and 105 acres of land valued at $21,000."

Not a bad start for the "Territorial Institution" that opened its doors "for the purpose of giving the young men and young women of Utah a liberal and practical education in the several pursuits and professions of life," just over 100 years ago.

These and other USU historic tidbits can be found in Joel E. Ricks' "The Utah State Agricultural College: A History of Fifty Years" and A.J. Simmonds' "A Centennial Celebration."