During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Land-Grant College Act of 1862, which provided the means for establishing new colleges in each state or territory. These schools were intended to promote higher education and practical learning to people of all walks of life, especially rural life. Utah State University (USU), initially named The Agricultural College of Utah, or the Utah Agricultural College (UAC), was founded as Utah’s land-grant institution on March 8, 1888. Two years later, the first students enrolled in classes, leading to the school's first commencement ceremony in 1894.
The UAC Commencement Programs Digital Exhibit includes programs, invitations, and even a dinner menu from the commencement ceremonies spanning from 1894 to 1919. It also includes commencement-specific articles from the local newspapers and pages from selected volumes of Student Life, the school’s student-published campus newspaper. There are some missing years due to gaps in the collection housed in USU’s archives.