The State Legislature authorized the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas April 17, 1871, under terms of the Federal Morrill Act. Constitutionally a part of a chartered, yet-unorganized state university, A&M gained its own directorate in 1875 with Governor Richard Coke as Board President. Brazos Countians provided its 2,416-acre site. Committed to "teach...branches of learning...related to agriculture and mechanic arts...to promote liberal and practical education," A&M opened Oct. 4, 1876, as the first state institution of higher learning actually operating in Texas. Thomas S. Gathright was President. Its original six students in seven academic departments grew to 28,038 students in eleven academic colleges by 1976. Initially an all-male, all-white school, it was desegregated as to color in 1963 and made fully coeducational in 1971. The Legislature recognized its diversified programs and international leadership in education and research by awarding the new name, Texas A&M University, on Aug. 23, 1963. On Sept. 17, 1971, the U.S. Congress made this one of America's first four Sea Grant Colleges. National defense has drawn from Texas A&M thousands of ROTC men, including 29 general officers for World War II.