Prairie View A&M University, the second oldest public institution of higher education in Texas, originated in the Texas Constitution of 1876. On August 14of that year, the Texas Legislature established the “Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas for Colored Youths” and placed responsibility for its management with the Board of Directors of the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Bryan. The A&M College of Texas for Colored Youths opened at Prairie View, Texas on March 11, 1878.
Prairie View Campus Panorama in Early 1900’s
The University’s original curriculum was designated by the Texas Legislature in 1879 to be that of a “Normal School” for the preparation and training of teachers. This curriculum was expanded to include the arts and sciences, home economics, agriculture, mechanical arts and nursing after the University was established as a branch of the Agricultural Experiment Station (Hatch Act, 1887) and as a Land Grant College (Morrill Act, 1890). Thus began the tradition of agricultural research and community service, which continues today.
The four-year senior college program began in 1919 and in 1937, a division of graduate studies was added, offering master’s degrees in agricultural economics, rural education, agricultural education, school administration and supervision, and rural sociology.
In 1945, the name of the institution was changed from Prairie View Normal and Industrial College to Prairie View University, and the school was authorized to offer, “as need arises,” all courses offered at the University of Texas.
In 1947, the Texas Legislature changed the name to Prairie View A&M College of Texas and provided that “courses be offered in agriculture, the mechanics arts, engineering, and the natural sciences connected therewith, together with any other courses authorized at Prairie View at the time of passage of this act, all of which shall be equivalent to those offered at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas at Bryan.” On August 27, 1973, the name of the institution was changed to Prairie View A&M University, and its status as an independent unit of the Texas A&M University System was confirmed.