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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Leonidas L. Polk (1837-1892)

In the late 1880s, Colonel Leonidas L. Polk, a former commissioner of agriculture, began a campaign to establish a separate state-supported agricultural and technical college. A skilled spokesman for farmers, Polk argued that North Carolina should follow other states and create a separate institution for more practical educational programs. The legislature agreed and redirected the $7,500 in Morrill Act interest payments to a new Agricultural and Mechanical College in Raleigh, which is now North Carolina State University.