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Photo of the Week: MAC's first graduating class (1861)

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MSU Archives

A portrait of the class of 1861. This was the first class of students to graduate from Michigan Agricultural College. 

Students are: 
Top (L-R): L.V. Beebe; Gilbert Dickey; A. Bayley 
Front (L-R): Henry Benham; A.N. Prentiss; A.F. Allen; C.E. Hollister 

Commencement was scheduled for November 1861, but was not to be. The entire graduating class of seven seniors was excused from school in September 1861 in order to join the Union Army. This marked the first time members of the campus community stepped up to help our nation at a time of crisis. 

Two of the graduates died in service: Gilbert A. Dickey was killed on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and Henry D. Benham died at Beaufort, South Carolina in the summer of 1864.

Photo via