The Stockbridge School of Agriculture grew out of the very beginnings of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, now the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Massachusetts’ Land Grant College formed in 1863, hiring its first professor of agriculture, Levi Stockbridge, and enrolling its first students in 1867. Twenty-seven individuals graduated in 1871 as the first class of agriculture students from Mass Aggie.

In the early years of Mass Aggie, a variety of bachelor of science degrees developed, including pomology, olericulture, floriculture, and agronomy. The arboriculture degree was added in 1893 and was the first of its kind in the United States. Landscape horticulture and turfgrass management were also early BS offerings of the Massachusetts Agricultural College.

Black and White photo of students in the field


In 1893 a two-year course was organized at Massachusetts Agriculture College (MAC); however, it was not until 1918 that the Massachusetts Legislature resolved to officially establish the "Two-year Course in Practical Agriculture." In recognition of his significant contribution to the Massachusetts Agricultural College as its first professor of agriculture and fifth president, the college trustees honored the memory of Levi Stockbridge and named the two-year program the Stockbridge School of Agriculture.

In 2012, the two-year associate of science and four-year bachelor of science degree programs were brought together under the Stockbridge School of Agriculture umbrella.

Now, the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers five Associate of Science degrees, four Bachelor of Science degrees, and graduate education at the MS and PhD levels to highly motivated individuals. It is unique in that all Stockbridge students have close student-faculty relationships.

Stockbridge students are involved in a broad range of activities, including clubs, intramural sports, residential activities, community service activities, national competition teams, and faculty research projects.

The approximately 10,000 Stockbridge alumni/ae form cohesive networks within the farming and green industries. They strongly support the work of the school and its graduates.

Black and White portrait of Levi

Levi Stockbridge

Levi Stockbridge was an important individual in the early years of Mass Aggie.

He was a Hadley farmer, his homestead just under two miles from campus. He became the first farm manager and the first professor of agriculture at the brand-new Mass Aggie.

He was a much beloved teacher, professing that experiential learning was critical to an agricultural education. Levi also was an active researcher, developing some of the earliest commercial fertilizers, the proceeds from which helped stabilized the finances of the early Mass Aggie. William Bowker, an 1871 graduate of the first class, said of Levi’s research that he led farmers out of the wilderness of speculation into the light of practical method.

Levi Stockbridge served as the fifth president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College before retiring in 1882.