Higher education in America was once a luxury for the privileged. In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln changed that when he signed the Morrill Act, which established the nation’s land-grant universities and opened doors of higher education to more Americans. The act directed funding to agriculture, engineering and mechanical arts education, helping build the infrastructure that has kept us strong and helps feed the world today. This year we mark the 150th anniversary of the land-grant university system. We celebrate the advances the act provided. Today the U.S. has a safe, secure food supply, a well-educated population, vibrant centers of innovation and discovery, and hands-on local education enriches citizens’ lives.The act also helped grow a dynamic, successful middle class in America that is the backbone of our society, workforce and future.New challenges aheadEveryday we face new challenges. The population is growing, but available land to grow food is not. Our environment is suffering, and ways to protect it must be found. America is slipping behind the world in science education, and higher education must be openly available now more than ever for us to compete. The act embraced by President Lincoln 150 years ago is more important today than the day it was signed. When delivering the Justin Morrill Lecture last week at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities conference, Kenneth G. Cassman, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, outlined the perfect storm of problems that lies ahead. He contended that rising fuel and food costs reduces spendable income, which causes education levels to decrease and birth rates to rise, creating a cycle that threatens our ability to feed people. Solutions to many of these challenges will be found in the classrooms, labs and programs of land-grant universities.At the University of Georgia, we are breeding better crops that can produce higher yields with less water and less environmental impact. We are working to find a dependable supply of bio-based fuels to help solve our energy problems. And we are discovering ways to produce food using fewer chemicals and fertilizers.The legacy and the futureThe legacy of the Morrill Act is evident across generations of American families and the landscape of our agricultural promise. Our system is the envy of many. Struggling countries often look squarely to our land-grant system as the solution to the problems that plague them. From Eastern Europe to Africa and Afghanistan, we’ve helped introduce the public educational system to promote a brighter future for us all. We must now greet the next 150 years with the same vigor and dedication we gave the past 150 years. It requires renewed commitment to reliable funding, sound policy and partnerships that got us this far. While today’s problems are more complex, so are the tools and technologies available to solve them. As we celebrate our successful past and remember the wisdom of President Lincoln, we will keep our sights set on developing the new innovations that will ensure a food-secure future. (J. Scott Angle is dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and chairman of the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly.)
“I am proud of the medal we brought home to Nigeria from the Olympics Football Tournament in Brazil in 2016, but my big aim is to win something with the Super Eagles. I am really looking forward to that.With an Olympic football event bronze already in his possession following Dream Team IV third place finish at Rio 2016, the hard-tackling defender said it was amazing representing Nigeria at the senior level.“It has been amazing to represent Nigeria for some years now, putting on the green-white-green with pride,” Ekong told the NFF official website.Months after the 2018 World Cup ended in Russia, Ekong is still wondering how Nigeria failed to progress from the Group D pairing that also had Argentina, Iceland and runner-ups, Croatia.“It was hard for all of us not to make progress from the group stage at the World Cup. But I still look back with pride about the team because our outing in Russia has definitely made us hungrier to qualify for the 2019 AFCON and to go all the way there.”After Nigeria won the AFCON 2013 in South Africa and failed back-to-back to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 respectively, Ekong wants the coveted African trophy as compensation for not making appreciable impact at Russia 2018.Nigeria will reopen the campaign to qualify for the AFCON 2019 with an away fixture against Seychelles on Saturday. Last year, Eagles fell 0-2 to South Africa in Uyo while Libya trounced Seychelles 5-1 to take the driver’s seat of the group B.After the away tie in Victoria, Seychelles Eagles will face Libya in back-to-back games in October before taking on South Africa.“It will be a hard job in the next two months and I know the boys and staff are taking these games very serious. But of course, I believe if we perform at our optimum, we will garner the points from the remaining matches and qualify for the final tournament.“We have demonstrated now that when Nigeria plays at its best there aren’t many teams we have to fear,” stressed Ekong who switched from Turkey to Italy this summer window.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro IkhazuagbeDependable Super Eagles defender, William Troost-Ekong, has said that will not be fulfilled as a footballer till he wins a major trophy with the Nigerian senior national team.The Udinese player who along with Leon Balogun formed Eagles’ famed ‘Oyinbo Wall’ insisted at the weekend that he was looking forward to winning a major honour with Nigeria.