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Phone: 208-885-6111
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: 208-885-9119
Student Union Building
875 Perimeter Drive MS 4264
Moscow, ID 83844-4264


Phone: 208-334-2999
Fax: 208-364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702


Coeur d'Alene

Phone: 208-667-2588
Toll-free: 888-208-2268
Fax: 208-664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way,
Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814


Idaho Falls

Phone: 208-282-7900
Fax: 208-282-7929
1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, ID 83402


Morrill Act banner
Congressman Justin S. Morrill portrait

About the Morrill Act

The University of Idaho owes its origins to the belief that for the United States to become a great power, its industries needed an educated workforce and productive agriculture. On July 2, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the Morrill Act, creating a nationwide system of land-grant universities.

Idaho Territory's leaders embraced the idea of "people's universities," establishing the University of Idaho in 1889, a year before statehood. Our University serves the citizens of all of Idaho through our statewide network of 70 locations. Our mission focuses on teaching, research and outreach.

The land-grant university democratized higher education. No longer was it a privilege mostly reserved for the sons of wealthy families or for the professional class. The University of Idaho's early graduating classes show that educational opportunity was available to all. Our first graduating class in 1896 included two men and two women. In 1899, the 13 graduates included Jennie Eva Hughes (below in the first row, second from the right), University of Idaho's first African-American graduate.

In 1899 Jennie Eva Hughes (1st row, 2nd from right) joined five other women in a graduating class of 13 and became the University's first African American graduate.

For former University of Idaho President M. Duane Nellis, the most notable accomplishments included:

  • Democratized higher education for all Americans, regardless of socio-economic, ethnic or geographic circumstance; in a nutshell, it promoted an educated, innovative, and prosperous society.
  • Provided American citizens access to life-changing higher education through land-grant universities. Every state can point to significant benefits fostered by land-grant university innovations.
  • Produced research that built industry, improved lives and created entirely new technologies.

The cornerstone of our Administration Building reads: "Erected by the Commonwealth of Idaho for the training of her future citizens to their highest usefulness in private life and public service." This continues to define our mission and our work to this day.