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Defining land grantWe know we belong to the land.


From their founding in the nineteenth century, Land-Grant universities have carried a distinctly American charge captured in the words of the Morrill Act of 1862: 

"to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life." 

What began as a noble democratic experiment to educate the daughters and sons of the American industrial class toward independence and influence manifests today in a unique cadre of institutions set apart to powerfully impact society. Through teaching, research and Extension, the Land-Grant institutions steward a timeless responsibility:  to raise successive generations of servant-leaders; to engage as vital members of their communities; to bring research and new knowledge to bear to prepare students for the world they will enter; and to extend critical knowledge and expertise to meet society’s most pressing problems — the “Grand Challenges” facing civilization.


The Land-Grant universities stand for a compelling set of values distinct from other higher education institutions. They instill individual leadership in pursuit of the common good. They nurture career competence as a means of cultivating communities. They unapologetically stand as economic development engines for the people they serve, addressing the imminent needs of a diverse society. Now, more than ever, the United States needs  graduates equipped with the kind of practical knowledge and skills that Land-Grants universities bestow. The world also requires the practical innovations Land-Grants generate. Rural communities and urban enclaves demand the servant leadership Land-Grants provide. The Land-Grants are timeless and are needed now more than ever before.


Firmly rooted in this vibrant tradition — and fiercely intent on extending its impact and influence to meet this critical moment — Oklahoma State University intends to become the nation’s preeminent Land-Grant university. 

We are Land-Grant.

Defining land grant preeminence

The preeminent Land-Grant university is the institution that most successfully carries out the unique Land-Grant mission for the place it serves. 


For OSU, that place is Oklahoma.


More effectively than any other state’s Land-Grant institution, OSU aims to meet Oklahoma’s workforce needs by generating sufficient numbers of qualified graduates with the individual attributes and in-demand skill sets our economy needs; to link its research to the critical sectors of the state’s economy and the practical improvement of key indicators like health outcomes, educational attainment and quality of life; to make good communities great through the power of extension; and to create servant-leaders who will act as engaged citizens in our rural towns and major cities. While our reach will be global, we will measure our success by how well we serve our state relative to our Land-Grant mission and counterpart institutions.

Focusing on areas of Land-Grant priority

To expand and value all fields of scholarly development, to engage students in the process of discovery and to align the University’s efforts with the State’s needs, OSU will focus resources at the intersection of the University’s existing strengths and society’s emerging needs - enumerating, focusing and concentrating funding specifically on the following four interdisciplinary “Priority Areas”:


  1. Innovating to Nourish the World
  2. Leading in Aerospace Innovation and Application 
  3. Enhancing Human and Animal Health (OneHealth)
  4. Powering a Growing World Population Sustainably and Responsibly

Indicative of society’s Grand Challenges, the four Priority Areas are best viewed as interdisciplinary intersections of institutional capacity and societal need — not as particular academic areas or divisions.  As such, they will involve faculty, students and research professionals from across all the University’s schools, colleges and academic units, driving professional preparedness to meet workforce demands of each area, advancing new knowledge with research specific to each sector and creating economic opportunity through close coordination with industry across each sphere. Ultimately, advances created by these areas will serve to enhance the quality of life, economic prospects and health outcomes for Oklahomans — with implications for world-wide application. While the vibrant diversity of the OSU community will continue to engender and embrace scholarship and teaching in other arenas, the four Priority Areas will serve as the guide for prioritizing resources in pursuit of Land-Grant preeminence.


Driving all four Priority Areas to empower the economy, OSU will magnify its focus on workforce excellence – equipping the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow by creating agile, creative thinkers and adaptable, resilient team members.  In order to prepare students for careers that might not currently exist and to position the University for maximum impact on society beyond the horizon, OSU will pursue advancement in the understanding and application of the future of work, entrepreneurship and workforce innovation.  These dynamics will serve to unify the four Priority Areas and bring them to practical fruition for local communities and their economies.


Undergirding the four interdisciplinary areas is the vital necessity of STEM-prepared students — both as they enter OSU as students and as they leave as graduates.  As such, Oklahoma State University will strengthen its commitment to aiding Oklahoma’s K-12 STEM capacity through large-scale coordinated investments in the communities it serves.

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