About Eastern Kentucky University
My love affair with Eastern Kentucky University began when I set foot on the Richmond campus as a first-generation college student more than four decades ago, and my pride has only grown through the years as I’ve watched my alma mater evolve into an institution of increasing national distinction.
The skyline of EKU today bears little resemblance to the campus I strolled as an undergraduate and graduate student, and the University’s tremendous growth has included the addition of extended campuses throughout the region. More importantly, Eastern Kentucky University still bears all the qualities that have endeared her to generations of appreciative students: a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and outstanding programs and services delivered by a faculty and staff committed to excellence and to the academic and personal growth of every student.
I would love nothing more than to show you why 95 percent of our more than 110,000 alumni say their EKU education was a positive or extremely positive experience and why more and more students are entrusting their future with us.
I am privileged and honored to serve as President of Eastern Kentucky University, and most grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me. I hope you soon take the opportunity to visit one of our campuses in person and discover just as I did years ago that this is, indeed, a special place that can enrich your life beyond measure.
Eastern Kentucky University is a regional, coeducational, public institution of higher education offering general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional training in education and various other fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Located in Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky, Eastern has a distinguished record of more than a century of educational service to the Commonwealth.
Situated near the heart of the Bluegrass, Richmond is served by a network of major highways that make Eastern easily accessible from all parts of Kentucky and surrounding states. Richmond is 26 miles southeast of Lexington, Kentucky. Interstate Highways I-75 (north-south) and I-64 (east-west) make the metropolitan areas of Cincinnati, 112 miles to the north, and Louisville, 110 miles to the west, within convenient distance by automobile. Richmond is also served by U.S. Route 25 from Southeastern Kentucky and Kentucky Route 52 from the east and west. The Bluegrass, Mountain, Daniel Boone, and Cumberland Parkways provide even greater accessibility by automobile since the city is located near the convergence of these arterial highways into the interstate system.
Richmond, the county seat of Madison County, is one of the Commonwealth's fastest-growing cities, with about 27,000 residents. Served by fine churches representing most Christian faiths, the community provides an excellent environment for the university student. The city also boasts a regional shopping mall, theaters, live entertainment, fine dining, cultural events and activities, and many areas of historic and scenic interest. Fort Boonesborough State Park, birthplace of Kentucky, is located 12 miles to the north. Many other historical places are within easy driving distance. Scenic and recreational areas surround this section of the state.
The Kentucky General Assembly of 1906 enacted legislation establishing the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. Governor J.C. Beckham signed the bill into law on March 21, 1906. On May 7 of that year, the Normal School Commission, meeting in Louisville, selected the campus of the old Central University, founded in 1874 in Richmond, as the site of the new school. On June 2, 1906, Ruric Nevel Roark was chosen President of the Normal School and the training of teachers was begun.
In 1922, Eastern became a four-year institution known as the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College. The first degrees were awarded by this institution in 1925. In 1928, the College was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. In 1930, the General Assembly renamed the school the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College.
In 1935, a graduate program was approved at Eastern, leading to the Master of Arts degree in Education. In 1948, the General Assembly removed the word "Teachers" from the name of the college and granted the college the right to award nonprofessional degrees.
The most significant day since its founding came for Eastern on February 26, 1966, when Governor Edward T. Breathitt signed into law a bill renaming the institution Eastern Kentucky University and sanctioning the awarding of graduate degrees in academic fields other than education.
During this period of time, Eastern Kentucky University has increased rapidly in size and stature. Beginning with a few students engaged in short review and certificate courses, the University today serves thousands of Kentuckians. The curriculum leads to associate degrees, baccalaureate degrees, and an expanding graduate program that currently offers degrees at the master's level in many other fields as well as the already well-established Master of Arts degree in Education and the various fifth- and sixth-year leadership programs in education, psychology, and technology. In addition to these programs, Eastern offers joint doctoral programs with cooperating institutions.
Ever-mindful of the purpose of its founding, Eastern continues to recognize its historic function of preparing quality teachers for the elementary and secondary schools of the Commonwealth. However, a strong liberal arts curriculum leading to appropriate degrees, together with pre-professional courses in several areas and graduate programs, enable Eastern to serve the Commonwealth as a regional university.