Land Grant Universities were established from the provisions of the Morrill Act (1862), which gave to the states federal lands for the establishment of colleges offering programs in agriculture, engineering, and home economics as well as in the traditional academic subjects.This was a response to the industrial revolution and changing social class. This was different from the historical higher class Liberal Arts. The Hatch Act (1887) expanded the land-grant program by providing federal funds for research and experiment stations; the Smith-Lever Act (1914) granted federal support for extension work in agriculture and home economics.
*Kansas State University was the first school created under the act, on February 16, 1863.
I think the agriculture basis affects the people themselves, that must be why the universities seem friendly and welcoming.