Do you know your ABC’s of UMD? We’ll start with the Letter A.

This fall, we are starting a new series on Terrapin Tales called ABC’s of UMD! Posts will come out twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, throughout the semester. If you want to learn more about campus history, check back weekly to see what we’ve picked to highlight, and you can also visit our encyclopedia University of Maryland A to Z: MAC to Millennium for more UMD facts.

Do you have other ABC’s about campus? Let us know in the comments below!

Here’s our first letter!


The University of Maryland was founded in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College. As outlined in the first course catalog in 1859, the college’s early focus was on instruction in scientific and practical agriculture, including  “an experimental and model farm, with a plan for the advancement of Agricultural Science, based upon practice.”

The students raised food for the table in the dining hall as part of their weekly activities, and the faculty gradually began extensive experimentation in the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and grains. Much of their work took place in the fields surrounding the building we know today as the Rossborough Inn on Route 1, which served as the headquarters for the Agricultural Experiment Station when it was established in 1888.

Fields at Rossborough, c. 1894.
Fields at Rossborough, c. 1894.

The college’s agricultural focus was enhanced by the Maryland General Assembly’s designation of the young school as the state’s land grant institution in 1864.

Today,. the university’s agricultural heritage is embodied in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), which offers comprehensive academic programs in environmental technology, food science, natural resources, animal and avian sciences, entomology, and a variety of other agriculture-related subjects.Beyond AGNR’s headquarters in College Park, the college maintains research centers and Extension offices throughout the state of Maryland.

What other A’s would you suggest?

Check out our next post in this series, the Letter B!

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