Kentucky State University

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Kentucky State University
Motto Enter to Learn, Exit to Serve
Established 1886
Type Public, HBCU
President Dr. Mary Evans Sias
Undergraduates 2,341
Postgraduates 350
Location Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S.
Campus 915 acres
Former names State Normal School for Colored Persons
Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons
Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons
Kentucky State College for Negroes
Kentucky State College
Colors Green and Gold
Athletics National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II
Nickname Thorobreds and Thorobrettes
Affiliations Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Kentucky State University ( KSU ) is a public institution that was founded in 1886. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,490, it has a total graduate enrollment of 350, its setting is city, and the campus size is 915 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Kentucky State University's ranking in the 2013 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, Tier 2. Its in-state tuition and fees are $6,858 (2012–13); out-of-state tuition and fees are $16,458 (2012–13).


Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons campus in 1898

It was chartered in 1886 and opened in 1887 as the State Normal School for Colored Persons. In 1890, the U.S. Government made the school a land grant institution. In 1902, the name of the school was changed to the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons, which was changed again in 1926 to the Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons. In 1938, the school became known as the Kentucky State College for Negroes (the "for Negroes" was dropped in 1952). The college became a full-fledged university in 1972. In 1973, Kentucky State offered its first graduate programs.

An adjoining high school was in operation from the late 1890s until the early 1930s.


Kentucky State University comprises four colleges and one specialized school:

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business and Computer Science
  • College of Professional Studies
  • College of College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems
  • Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies

School of Public Administration, Social Work and Criminal Justice Activities:

School of Public Administration, Social Work & Criminal Justice

Unit Mission: To provide quality education to in-service and pre-service students in the professional areas of Public Administration, Social Work, and Criminal Justice.

To produce pre-service graduates with the necessary skills that will allow them to compete for and obtain entry level position in government, non-profit sector, and the business sector.

To produce in-service graduates with the necessary additional skills necessary for advancement in their present position.

Program Goals/Objectives:

The Public Administration program is designed to endow students with practical abilities in problem-solving, program analysis, and implementation.

The principal objectives of the Social Work program are to prepare undergraduate students for generalist/entry-level professional social work practice in public and private sectors, and to prepare students for continued professional growth including graduate social work education.

Criminal Justice is designed to prepare students for careers in law enforcement, community and institutional corrections, court services, and other criminal justice related areas, as well as for admission to law school.

Academic Life[edit]

The student-faculty ratio at Kentucky State University is 16:1, and the school has 59.5 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Kentucky State University include: Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies; Business/Commerce, General; Criminal Justice/Safety Studies; Psychology, General; and Physical Education Teaching and Coaching. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 51.5 percent.

Faculty & Classes

General education/core curriculum required Yes

Class sizes: Student-faculty ratio 16:1

Majors Five most popular majors for 2011 graduates

Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 16% Business/Commerce, General 12% Criminal Justice/Safety Studies 8% Psychology, General 8% Physical Education Teaching and Coaching 7% Degrees offered Associate, Bachelor's, Master's

Graduate Programs[edit]

Kentucky State University offers programs of study that lead to five Masters Degrees: the Master of Public Administration, the Master of Science in Aquaculture/Aquatic Sciences, the Master of Science in Computer Science, and the Master of Business Administration, and Master of Arts in Special Education with a Certification in Learning and Behavior Disorders (MA-LBD, P-12).

Kentucky State University strives to maintain the highest quality graduate programs and excellence among graduate faculty. The Graduate Programs at Kentucky State University seek to recruit students of high potential, readiness, and motivation for success in graduate studies and, following graduation, continued professional accomplishment.

Yingluck Shinawatra, a 1991 graduate from the Master's of Public Administration program became the 28th and first female Prime Minister of Thailand. The graduate programs at Kentucky State help teach and network the students for future careers in their selected areas. Internships are offered in the graduate programs to further enrich the students outlook.


Kentucky State University teams participate as a member of the Division II Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The school's mascot are the Thorobreds. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and indoor and outdoor track and field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, softball and volleyball.

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Marion K. Kelly 1980 Appointed Undersecretary of the United States Department of Labor under President George Herbert Walker Bush. Former Admissions Director at Indiana University Medical School and Admissions Director of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Paul William Lawrence Jones 1898 Educator, historian and athlete; preserved much of what Kentucky State now has in the way of books and documents about the early years of Kentucky State; started some of the 1st football, baseball & track teams at KSU, known as the “Father of Athletics” at Kentucky State
James L. McCullin 1941 Tuskegee Airman officer whose plane was lost over Sicily during WWII
Marcus Pittman Christian rapper known as "Navy Blu"
Ersa Hines Poston 1942 first African American to head the United States Civil Service Commission; appointed by Pres. Carter and confirmed by the United States Senate
Whitney M. Young Jr. 1941 Former civil rights leader, educator and executive; former Executive Director who led the National Urban League through its most prosperous period;served many presidential commissions including as a Vietnam elections observer in 1967
H.C. Russell, Jr. Ensign in the United States Coast Guard during WWII and third African American commissioned officer in the Coast Guard; later became executive with Coca Cola
Winnie A. Scott 1890 Educator and helped establish a hospital for African Americans in Frankfort; member of first graduating class at Kentucky State
Frank Simpson 1942 Educator; high school principal for 21 years and administrator in the Louisville schools system
Moneta Sleet Jr. 1947 Photographer for Ebony, won a Pulitzer Prize for his picture of Coretta Scott King at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Effie Waller Smith ca. 1900 Educator & poet; poet James Still called her "Kentucky’s Emily Dickinson"
John Merritt 1950 former head football coach at Jackson State University and Tennessee State University. One of the winningest coaches in HBCU football. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame
Davey 'Wiz' Whitney 1953 former head basketball coach at Texas Southern University and Alcorn State University. One of the winningest coaches in HBCU basketball. Inducted into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame
Walter D. Bean 1935 Teacher, principal, and supervisor with the Indianapolis Public Schools, and the first African American administrator and recruiter for African American teachers. He helped integrate the Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity at Butler University In 1956 when he became the first African American chartered member. He was also the second African American member of the USA American Association of School Personnel Administrators.
Anthony Beatty Sr. In 2001, he became the first African American Chief of Police in Lexington, KY. In 2007, he retired from the Lexington Police Department and became Assistant Vice President for Public Safety at the University of Kentucky.
James T. Beaumont Elected the first African American councilman in La Grange, KY. in 1969.
Luska Twyman 1938 Former mayor of Glasgow, Ky; first Black mayor of a Kentucky city
Dr. Harrison B. Wilson 1950 became the second President of Norfolk State College in 1975
Marsha Harpool First African-American Mayor of the city of Blountstown, Florida (2007)
Yingluck Shinawatra 1991 The 28th and first female Prime Minister of Thailand
Margaret Elizabeth Sallee Barnes 1900 Editor of the Girl's Guide and of the Queen's Gardens, official publication of the Ohio Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. The organization was developed in the early 1930s by Barnes, who also served as the president. A building on the campus of Wilberforce University was named in her honor. She was a leader among African American women in the Republican Party and was a delegate-at-large for the Republican State Convention in 1940.
Midnight Star R&B Synth-Funk band.
Michael Bernard Basketball player; the first from KSU to be drafted by the NBA in 1970 (Cincinnati Royals)
Dr. Henry E. Cheaney 1936 Educator and nationally-recognized expert on the history of African Americans in Kentucky
Anna Mac Clarke 1941 Member of Women’s Army Corps during WWII; 1st African American officer of an otherwise all-white company
Tom Colbert First African-American Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice
Randolph "Randy" Williams 1978 Two time NCAA Division II 400 Meter Hurdle Champion and Nine (9) time NCAA Division II Track and Field All-American. Inducted into the KSU Hall of Fame and inducted into the NCAA Division II Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Travis "Machine" Grant College basketball star on Kentucky State University's 1970, 1971 and 1972 NAIA National Championship teams. Playred for the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Diego Conquistadors of the American Basketball Association
Rod Hill Former professional football player who played six seasons in the NFL (1982-1987) and later starred in the CFL
Cletidus Hunt former professional football player who played six seasons in the NFL (1999-2004)
Sam Sibert former college basketball standout; Drafted as the 19th player in the 1972 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals
Patricia Russell-McCloud 1968 As a member of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), she studied at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree at Howard University, School of Law, Washington, DC. She has received many honors, including being presented more than 300 keys to American cities. She has served as the 11th National President of The Links, Inc., and the National Parliamentarian to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She has been named as one of the top five business motivators in the country by Black Enterprise Magazine; identified as one of the top 10 speakers in America.
Elmore Smith NBA and college basketball player, who is listed among the top rebounders in college basketball history, starred on KSU's 1970 and 1971 national championship teams. Holds the NAIA records for Rebounds in a Season (799 in 1971 also tops on the NCAA All-Divisions list, as well as being eighth with 682 in 1970) and Career Average (22.6, seventh on the NCAA All-Divisions list), while ranking eighth on the NCAA All-Divisions Career list with 1719 total despite being the only player in the top 10 to play only three seasons. Earned NCAA Division II First Team All-American honors in 1971. A seven-foot center, Smith played in the NBA for eight seasons (1971-1979) and was the third overall pick in the 1971 NBA Draft for the Buffalo Braves; listed amongst all-time greatest shot-blockers in NBA history even though that statistic was only recorded for six of his seasons. Held the NBA Single-Season Block Shots Record of 393 while with the LA Lakers 1973-4 (Broken in 1984-5, but still a Lakers Record). [1]
Herb Trawick 1942 First black man to play in the Canadian Football League; played for the Montreal Alouettes 1946-1957 and was a seven-time All-Star; played in 4 Grey Cup Championships, winning in 1949; was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
Joseph Kendall 1938 Former All-American Quarterback; dominated black college football in the 1930s while leading Kentucky State to a black college championship in 1934; the first person in KSU history to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. He has been a teacher, coach, and parks administrator in Owensboro, Kentucky [2]
Jayjay Helterbrand Filipino Player of the Barangay Ginebra Kings in the Philippine Basketball Association, 2008-09 Philippine Basketball Association MVP
Ezzret Anderson One of the first African Americans from a predominantly African American school to play professional football when he joined the Los Angeles Dons of the old All-American Football Conference in 1947. He also played with the Los Angeles Mustangs. He played for the Hollywood Bears in the Pacific Coast League when they won the title.

Note some alumni information provided by Kentucky State University Online and University of Kentucky's Notable Kentucky African Americans Database


  1. ^ NAIA Men's Basketball Division I and Division II Regular-Season Records :: Individual & Team Records
  2. ^ Information supplied by The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame press release May 1, 2007

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°12′00″N 84°51′30″W / 38.20000°N 84.85833°W / 38.20000; -84.85833