Old Main in blue


There are hundreds of milestones in USU's rich and diverse history. From new buildings and new degrees to new athletic teams and new campaigns, Utah State University continues to meet the changing needs of today's higher education environment. Here is a small sampling of how we've grown over the years:


President Lincoln signs the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, funding a land-grant college in each state to promote higher education and practical learning for all people.

President Lincoln signs the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act 1888

The Agricultural College of Utah is founded.

The Agricultural College of Utah is founded. 1914

Utah Cooperative Extension Service is founded, bringing researchbased knowledge to people, especially farmers, around the state.

Utah Cooperative Extension Service is founded 1918

The popular Aggie song "The Scotsman" is composed by a student.

The Scotsman is composed by a student 1921

Aggie Ice Cream introduced by Gustav Wilster. Eating Aggie Ice Cream has become a rite of passage on campus.

Aggie Ice Cream introduced by Gustav Wilster 1928

The newly launched School of Education establishes a teacher training school, now called the Edith Bowen Laboratory School.

The newly launched School of Education establishes a teacher training school 1930

Romney Stadium completed, bringing about the first official Homecoming game against the University of Colorado.

Romney Stadium is completed 1957

Utah Agricultural College becomes Utah State University.

Utah Agricultural College becomes Utah State University 1959

Two of the most respected research institutions in the West, the Space Dynamics Laboratory and the Utah Water Research Laboratory, are founded at USU.

the Space Dynamics Laboratory and the Utah Water Research Laboratory, are founded at USU 1961

Led by future Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, the Utah State Aggie football team finishes No. 10 in the nation, its highest year-end ranking.

Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen 1970

The Spectrum, a new assembly center, now known as Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum, opens.

the Dee Glenn Smith Spectrum opens 1975

The university initiates its Undergraduate Research Program, making it the second oldest program in the nation, behind MIT.

The university initiates its Undergraduate Research Program 1978

Utah State Athletics crowns its first national champion as the women's volleyball team defeats UCLA in the national final and finishes 40-4 on the year.

Utah State Athletics crowns its first national champion 1985

Innovation Campus is founded. It supports the research of private companies engaged in projects with student researchers and faculty.

Innovation Campus is founded 2006

The Merrill-Cazier Library is dedicated April 14 and immediately begins to receive national recognition, including a No. 1 ranking in the "Smart Classroom" Category.

The Merrill-Cazier Library is dedicated 2010

In the state of Utah's first-ever merger of two longstanding academic institutions, the College of Eastern Utah joins forces with USU.

The College of Eastern Utah joins forces with USU 2012

Utah State University completes its first ever major capital campaign with donations totaling $512,861,410.

Utah State University completes its first ever major capital campaign 150 years

The Greats 2012

On July 2, 1862, just one day after our nation suffered the combined losses and casualties of 36,058 men in the Seven Days Battle during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln quietly signed a piece of legislation that would forever change the way Americans thought about education. The Morrill Land-Grant Act called for socio-economic equality in higher education. Through the sale and use of federal lands, institutions of higher education that were affordable and had a solid base in applicable practicum were established, and President Lincoln enabled a wounded nation to heal herself through hard work and education.

Old Main Hill

Just 25 years after the Morrill Act set the stage for land-grant institutions to be established throughout the nation, the Utah Agriculture College was founded and designated to reside in Logan, Utah. In the past 125 years, a lot has changed for the school with plowed fields that overlooked Cache Valley. Along with name changes and expanded facilities, that small school's reach is now state wide, with one comprehensive regional college (USU Eastern with campuses in Price and Blanding), three regional campuses (Brigham City, Tooele, Uintah Basin), and 34 Extension offices – including the USU Botanical Center and Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter.

The Morrill Act was designed to "promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes." What a virtually perfect design for a state whose motto is "industry." Though legislation and terminology has changed since 1862, even in 2012, Utah State University honored the Morrill Act's initiative to teach "Agriculture," "Experiment/research," "Classical Studies," "Natural, Physical and Mathematical Sciences," "Economic Sciences," "Mechanic Arts," "Preparation for Teachers" and to the development of "Outreach and Extens ion Work" and "Scientific Experiments and Research."


ASTE Faculty Member Named Project Director of National Education Program: Debra Spielmaker, a faculty member in the School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education at Utah State University, recently became project director for National Agriculture in the Classroom. Spielmaker has worked with AITC on the state level since 1994 and began her new role in September 2012.

USU Launches First Veterinary Medicine Program in State: With the legislature's approval of USU's doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2011, immediately, applications of admission to the program were being submitted. Fall 2012 marked the inaugural semester for Utah's only veterinary physician program.

Professor Elected President of LAEP's Largest Academic Organization: Sean Michael, department head and professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning, was chosen as president-elect of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. The organization is composed of virtually all the programs of higher learning in landscape architecture in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Agricultural Sciences Building

New Agricultural Sciences Building Opens: After eight years of planning, lobbying, construction and fundraising, the new Agricultural Sciences Building on Utah State University's historic Quad officially opened in a celebration February 29.


Two USU Researchers Receive Governor's Medals for Science and Technology: Researchers Bruce Bugbee and Byard Wood were presented the Governor's Medal for Science and Technology Jan. 10 by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Bugbee is internationally known for his work with NASA on food production in space. Wood is an expert on developing sustainable, renewable energies, including solar and biofuels.

USU Investigators Assist in Discovering New Alzheimer's Risk Gene: Utah State investigators from the Cache County Memory Study have been involved in a large, global consortium that has discovered a new Alzheimer's disease gene. The discovery, which involved DNA and data from Cache County residents, is being published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Council on Undergraduate Research Acknowledges USU Professor: The Council on Undergraduate Research granted a CUR Fellows Award to Joyce Kinkead, professor of English and former associate vice president for research at Utah State University. The awards are presented to CUR members who have developed nationally respected research programs involving undergraduate students. Kinkead was also awarded a CUR Student Research Fellowship to give to a deserving undergraduate.

Four USU Students are 2012 Goldwater Honorees: Two Utah State University students are 2012 Goldwater Scholars and two Aggies received honorable mention in a prestigious national competition that recognizes outstanding undergraduate achievements in science and mathematics. USU boasts 20 Goldwater Scholars and nine honorable mention recipients since 1998. Mitch Dabling, civil engineering, (the only civil engineering student nationwide to receive the honor); Sarah Mousley, mathematics; Jordan Rozum, honorable mention, physics and mathematics; Rachel Ward, honorable mention, physics and mathematics.

Six Aggies Honored in NSF Grad Research Fellow Search: Four students received 2012 Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation and two more received honorable mentions in the renowned competition that rewards academic excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines.


Music Department becomes "All Steinway School": With the Sorenson Legacy Foundation gift, in combination with the vision and support of additional earlier donors, USU acquired 44 new Steinway and Steinway-designed pianos, upgrading and replacing all pianos in its music department.

History Professor Recognized for Leadership in Higher Ed Reform: Norman L. Jones, Utah State University's director of general education and curricular integration, was honored with the Jerry G. Gaff Faculty Award by the Association for Liberal and General Studies.

English Professor Awarded NEA Grant: Charles Waugh, associate professor of English, received one of 16 fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for his project New Voices from Vietnam. Waugh's project is in collaboration with Vietnamese scholar Nguyen Lien to translate stories by contemporary Vietnamese writers whose work highlights the impact of globalization on the culture.

JCOM Students Launch Campus Magazine: Student Kate Rouse DuHadway came up with the idea for Aggie BluePrint, a new student-produced magazine. The online publication was launched in the spring semester as a collaborative effort involving students in the journalism program.

Theatre Arts Professor Receives Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award: Department of Theatre Arts faculty member Shawn Fisher won the award for his play How to Make a Rope Swing, which will be produced in Utah and New Jersey.

Faculty Member Commissioned by New York Philharmonic Orchestra: Assistant professor of music theory Jude Vaclavik received a commission from the NYPO as part of its "CONTACT!" series to compose a new piece for strings, brass and percussion. Vaclavik's composition was added to the NYPO repertoire.

Another Utah Carnegie Professor: Michael Christiansen, professor of guitar, received the Carnegie Foundation's Professor of the Year Award. USU has had 12 Carnegie Professors of the Year in the past 17 years.

Michael Christiansen


Physics Department Receives American Physical Society Award: USU received an inaugural 2012 Improving Undergraduate Physics Education Award from the American Physical Society's Committee on Education.

USU Faculty Member Helms Multi-University Research: Todd Crowl, watershed sciences faculty member in the Quinney College of Natural Resources, was named director of the newly founded NSF EPSCoR of Utah. This $20 million National Science Foundation-funded state-wide program will assist in building the necessary infrastructure to sustainably manage Utah's waters.

USU Physicist Honored for Lifetime Achievements: USU physicist Thomas D. Wilkerson, whose accomplishments in LIDAR (light detection and ranging) and atmospheric research are world-renowned, is the recipient of the International Coordination Group for Laser Atmospheric Studies' 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Researcher and Faculty Member Named AAAS Fellow: Lance Seefeldt, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was recognized as one of the nation's top scientists as a 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow. Seefeldt is a pioneer in the research of bacterial enzymes' application to both food supply and fuel production.

Physics Student Sweeps Awards at Global Conference: Rachel Ward was one of only two U.S. students selected to attend the 2012 International Conference of Physics Students, held in Utrecht, Netherlands, where she won two first-place awards.

Dean of Quinney College of Natural Resources Receives Lifetime Achievement Award: Chris Luecke was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Chapter of the American Fisheries Society for his contributions of research, education and administration within fisheries science.

Colleges of Science, Agriculture and Engineering Develop Biofuel Dragster: Many times, circumstances provide for the perfect cross-campus collaboration, like the student-developed Biofuel Dragster that set a land speed record this year. Student and faculty researchers from the colleges of Science and Agriculture developed the biofuel used in the dragster, while student and faculty members from the College of Engineering built the diesel streamliner. At its top speed, the Aggie vehicle clocked in at 65.344 miles per hour, no small feat for a biofueled vehicle with a one-liter, two-cylinder engine.

College of Engineering Students Take First Place in NASA Rocket Competition: Engineering students won first-place honors at the annual University Student Launch Initiative hosted by the NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center. This is the fourth first-place honor USU students have won in just five years.


Business Students' Venture Predicts Election Outcomes: The startup PoliticIT, created by five Jon M. Huntsman School of Business students and professor John D. Johnson, uses machine learning to gauge the popularity of political candidates by measuring their digital influence from all across the Internet. The startup has already predicted election outcomes with 87% accuracy, and it predicted the Utah elections (including the surprise upsets) with 100% accuracy.

School of Business ranks in Top 25 Most Social Media Friendly MBA School Rankings: Online MBA Page.com has ranked the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University as one of the top 25 schools in the country in social media activity. The school tied for the No. 25 spot with Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, which is ranked No. 24. Rankings were based on measured social media impact in five categories: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus.

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Recognized by the CFA Institute: The School of Business is just one of 20 schools in the nation to be recognized by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute for its work to prepare students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst© designation, which has become the most respected and recognized investment credential in the world.

Economics Student a Finalist for Carnegie Fellowship: Kjersten Adams, a Huntsman Scholar and senior Honors student in economics, was one of 25 finalists nationwide for The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Junior Fellows Program.


Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Ranks in Top 25: For the 13th consecutive year, the EEJCEHS was ranked in the U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of graduate education programs. In 2012, the college improved five spots over last year coming in at No. 24.

Two Special Education Department Grad Programs Ranked Top 15: In the 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools," two programs in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation were ranked in the top 20 programs nationally. The department's rehabilitation counseling program ranked ninth in the nation, and the special education graduate program was ranked at No. 15 among all special education programs.

College of Education Awarded GEAR UP Partnership Grant: Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services and school researchers have been awarded a federal Department of Education Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) partnership grant for $2.2 million a year over a proposed seven years for a total of $15.45 million.


Professors from College of Engineering and Agriculture Receive $200,000 Grant: Kevin Heaslip and Ryan Bosworth, assistant professors in civil engineering and applied economics respectively, have been awarded a grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation to study what the implications of lower natural gas prices will be for the transportation industry.

Biological Engineering Student Receives Fellowship Award: Neal Hengge, a biological engineering student, received the American Society of Microbiology Research Fellowship Award for his research on algae-based biofuels.

USU SKI-HI Institute Director Recognized for In-Home Sensory Impaired Training and Education: The American Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired honored Elizabeth Dennison with the Warren Bledsoe Award for her developed curricula that have trained professionals in 44 states and six countries.

USU Engineering Team Takes First in National Competition: A group of mechanical and aerospace engineering students placed first at the Air Force Research Laboratory Design Challenge for its device, the Personnel Vacuum Assisted Climber. The PVAC uses vacuum powered suction cups and attached stirrups to enable a user to scale a wall of sheer concrete and can support an estimated 700 pounds.

USU Engineering


USU Extension Biofuels Program Wins National Proposal: Utah State University Extension, in collaboration with The Louis Berger Group, received the Outstanding Sustainable Planning, Design or Development Initiative by the Federal Planning Division for the "Feasibility of Energy Crops Grown on Army Lands" proposal. The division asked planners working for, and with, federal agencies to reimagine federal landscapes at all scales, from highways to national parks, from military installations to intrastate watersheds.

USU Extension and Partners Receive Grant for Community Ed Programs: An award from the Mexican government assists Utah State University Extension in offering bilingual and technology literacy classes to adults and youth through the Logan City School District. The funding is matched by one from the USU Community Credit Union and will support the Community Learning Center formed by USU Extension, Logan High School, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey and the Consulado de México.

Utah State Professor is One of Three Researchers Invited to Congressional Briefing: This year marked the 40th year that NASA's LANDSAT satellites have been circling the globe and tracking changes on the Earth's surface. Phil Rasmussen, director of the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Center and USU faculty member, attended a special Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to celebrate LANDSAT's 40th anniversary. Data from the LANDSAT satellite series has helped farmers, ranchers and land managers to select optimal management alternatives opposed to non-sustainable techniques that do harm to natural resources.

Ashton Foundation Generously Gives to USU Extension: Utah State University Extension is the recipient of a gift agreement from the Ashton Family Foundation. The gift will fund additional staffing and operational costs of personnel and expand Extension programs at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

USU Celebrates Utah 4-H Centennial: In July, Utah State University hosted Celebrating the Past, Creating the Future, a celebration in honor of the 100 years that Utah 4-H has shared a partnership and home at the university. The three-day event had 500 participants and included contests, workshops and general sessions, as well as myriad other activities.

Aggie Sports

Aggie Sports: The birth of the Morrill Land-Grant Act allowed for those seeking an education to obtain one, not just the privileged. The "industrial class" now had access to higher education, and with that, came the pride and tradition long-fostered within college campuses. Take a quick glance at the top 25 of any NCAA sport, and you will see many, if not a majority, of land-grant institutions (including USU) in the football rankings. Utah State student athletes bear the name of a direct land-grant influence: We are The Aggies!

Football: 2012 WAC and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl champions! Won the school's second only bowl game and first bowl win in 19 years.

Women's Soccer: Shared regular-season conference win and won the 2012 WAC tournament.

Volleyball: Placed first in the conference in regular- season play.

Men's Basketball: Just one of five teams in the nation to win at least 21 games in each of the last 13 seasons (along with Gonzaga, Kansas, Duke and Syracuse).


College of Natural Resources Renamed: For more than two decades of generous philanthropic giving to the College of Natural Resources, and after a recent donation of $10 million, the college was renamed the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources.

Completion of USU's First-Ever Comprehensive Capital Campaign - "Honoring Tradition, Securing the Future": After hitting the campaign goal just one year into the effort, Utah State doubled the goal to $400 million. The campaign closed in 2012 with more than 53,000 alumni and friends having weighed in, and raised $512,861,410 to enhance the lives of USU's people, critical programs and exceptional facilities.

USU "Green" College for Third Year in a Row: The Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, has named Utah State University a "green" college for the third year in a row. The designation honors the university's commitment to sustainability and recognizes the wide-range of "green" initiatives taken to minimize USU's carbon footprint.

Office of Research and Graduate Studies Organizes TEDx Talks: In the spirit of the internationally applauded TED Conferences, TEDxUSU was designed to introduce "ideas worth spreading." TEDxUSU featured impactful research and performances from acclaimed slam poet Buddy Wakefield, USURF President Doug Lemon, CEO of Entra Partners Jim Butcher and many other distinguished guests.

New Entrepreneur Center Opens to Campus and Community: The Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence at Utah State University is designed to help and provide needed resources to aspiring entrepreneurs from the community and across the campus in creating new enterprises.