Spalding University

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Spalding University
Spalding university.jpg
University Center Building
at Spalding University
Former names
Nazareth College
and Catherine Spalding College
Motto What do You want out of life?
Established 1814
Type Private
Affiliation Catholic Church (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth)
President Tori Murden McClure
Students 2,514 [1]
Undergraduates 1,429 [2]
Location Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Colors Blue and Yellow
Sports NCAA Division III
11 sports/14 teams[1]
Nickname Golden Eagles (Changed from Pelicans in 2006)
Affiliations Kentuckiana Metroversity

Spalding University is a private, co-educational university in Louisville, Kentucky affiliated with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. It is the oldest Catholic university in the United States west of the Allegheny Mountains.


Spalding University was once the oldest Catholic university west of the Alleghenies. It traced its roots back to 1814 and the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. It was named after Mother Catherine Spalding, foundress of the Sisters. In 2003, the school effectively severed its connection to its Catholic roots by eliminating the College of Arts and Sciences, with all of its humanities departments, including the departments of religious studies and ministry studies. Today the university offers mainly degrees related to professional development such as teaching, nursing, clinical psychology and occupational therapy.

The school has its origins in Nazareth Academy, located in Nelson County near Bardstown, Kentucky. In 1829 the legislature of the Commonwealth of Kentucky granted the school a charter allowing the school to confer varying degrees. In 1920, the Sisters opened Nazareth College in Louisville, Kentucky's first, four-year, Catholic college for women. The Louisville and Nazareth campuses merged. In 1969, the school was renamed Spalding College and in 1971 all instructional activity was moved to the Louisville campus. In 1973, Spalding College became co-educational and an independent college in the Catholic tradition open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. In 1984, Spalding College became Spalding University.

Academic programs[edit]

Spalding offers day, evening, and weekend classes leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees in the areas of health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and education. The Masters of Fine Arts in writing degree program, with focus areas in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, drama, and writing for children, publishes a biannual literary magazine, The Louisville Review.

School of Nursing[edit]

The BSN Program is the oldest collegiate-based nursing program in Kentucky. Spalding was a leader in the two year RN to BSN weekend only college program. The School of Nursing also offers the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). There are three tracks available: Leadership in Nursing and Health Care, Nursing Education, and Nurse Practitioner (Adult, Family, and Pediatrics).[3]

Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy[edit]

The Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy offers an intellectually stimulating, experiential, and innovative educational program for the prospective occupational therapy student. The (30) month program brings together a cohort of students who become peers and colleagues. The multitude of learning experiences during the professional phase of the program involve s both practical experience in community settings as well as high levels of active learning in the classroom.

Graduates of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy are employed in a wide variety of practice settings locally, nationally, and internationally. The program graduates pass the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapists in occupational therapy at a rate that exceeds the national average. Students in the occupational therapy program have close interaction with faculty throughout the entire program and continue to receive support as peers from faculty after graduation.

Master of Fine Arts in writing[edit]

Spalding University offers a four-semester brief-residency leading to the Master of Fine Arts degree in writing. Each semester of the program begins with a ten-day residency, in which students and faculty gather for an intensive workshop and learning experience. At the conclusion of the residency, students return home to correspond, one-on-one, with a faculty mentor for the rest of the semester.

The MFA Program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.

Master of Science in Business Communication[edit]

The MSBC at Spalding University is the first and only Master of Science in Business Communication program in the commonwealth of Kentucky. The program focuses on leadership skills, interpersonal skill, written communication and adaptability. The program can be completed in one year and has year round start dates.

Kentucky School of Art[edit]

Founded in 2010, the Kentucky School of Art is housed within Spalding University.

Location and facilities[edit]

Administration Building

Located in downtown Louisville, Spalding University's urban campus is located between the main business/government district of the city and Old Louisville.

851 mansion[edit]

When Spalding University, originally called Nazareth College, opened in 1920, its sole building was the 1871 structure known as the Tompkins-Buchanan-Rankin House. This Italianate building was designed and built by architect Henry Whitestone for the family of Joseph T. Tompkins, a wealthy dry-goods merchant and importer. Later, the Buchanans and Rankins lived here. George C. Buchanan was a distiller who aspired to make the mansion one of the greatest in Louisville, and had it redecorated in 1880. Although the facade of this Italianate structure has disappeared, the north and south sides of the original building are visible; on the north are three deeply projecting bay windows, and on the south, a two story loggia. In 1918 the residence was vacant, so the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth purchased it for $75,000 as the site of the college they planned to open in Louisville. The fact that this house is one door north of Presentation Academy, also operated by the Sisters, was fortunate. Architect Whitestone introduced the Italianate style to Louisville, using Rome's Palazzo Farnese for his model.

As successive owners occupied the mansion, they added such treasures as a hand-tooled leather ceiling from Florence for one parlor, ebony mantels, and a large hand-carved hat-rack, which Mr. Buchanan purchased at the New Orleans Exposition. The stained glass which graces this mansion is one of its outstanding features. When Dr. John Coolidge, one-time Director of Harvard's Fogg Art Museum, visited Louisville, he said that Spalding University has the most marvelous display of nineteenth-century stained glass he had ever seen. Many other artifacts make this building a veritable museum. Its crystal and brass chandeliers, "petticoat mirrors," Viennese etched glass doors, and hand-painted tiles in the fireplaces are just a few examples of the elegance this structure contains.

Erected in 1942, the Administration Building, which was attached to the front wall of the 1871 building, fills not only the space of the two lots north of the original building but also that of the former terrace in front of the mansion. The old stained glass street number, 851, no longer faces the street, but it still gleams brightly in the passageway between the newer building and the old Whitestone mansion. Certainly, like many other buildings 132 years old, the Spalding Mansion has many needs. Its heating system leads this list, and administrators are actively seeking grants to remedy this problem.

In December 1973 the Mansion was designated a Kentucky Landmark. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1977.[4]

Egan Leadership Center[edit]

The Egan Leadership Center is located at 901 South Fourth Street and is named after Spalding's former President, Sister Eileen Egan. Sister Eileen served the University for 25 years until her retirement in 1994. Containing over 33,000 square feet (3,100 m2) on three floors, the building houses a 125-seat lectorium and the University bookstore on the first level. The second and third floors house student services offices such as admissions, registrar, financial aid, advising and student development and campus life.

Teilhard Hall[edit]

Home of the Kentucky School of Art, with studio classrooms and individual studios offered to students participating in the program.

849 Building[edit]

An extension of the Kentucky School of Art, housing more student studios, a sculpture area, and a gallery.

Morrison Hall[edit]

Morrison Hall, located at the southern boundary of Spalding University's campus, provides on-campus housing for both undergraduate and graduate students. Morrison Hall features 165 dormitory-style rooms, with newly renovated restroom and shower facilities. All rooms are equipped wifi and cable access and individual heating/air-conditioning units. A kitchen, laundry facilities, and a computer lab are also available. Morrison Hall's reception desk is staffed 24 hours a day.

Spalding Suites[edit]

The Spalding Suites opened in the fall of 2011 and are designed as apartment style living for students who chose to live on campus.

Spalding University Center[edit]

In 1963 Spalding University purchased the former Columbia Building and since them has used this structure for administrative, recreational, athletic, religious, and cultural events, including public lectures by notable public figures many of which have been open to the public. The auditorium seats about 1,000 people in its main floor and balcony. Its good acoustics reportedly make it the best non-union theater in the Louisville area.[citation needed]

The building was designed by Louisville architect Thomas J. Nolan in 1925 in a classic style in accordance with Vignola. The external walls are of Bedford limestone with buff brick trim. Interior floors and staircases are marble. The Knights of Columbus commissioned the building to serve as a center for their many activities.

After the economic depression of 1929, the Knights of Columbus could not maintain it, so it was used by other groups. During World War II it was a service club for military personnel. It was also used by the Louisville Orchestra in that group's early days. Perhaps the best-known use of the gymnasium in the building was the housing of Golden Gloves Boxing events during the 1950s. It was there that Cassius Clay (now Muhammad Ali) trained as a teenager.


Spalding University offers 11 varsity sports and 14 teams who participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division III. The Golden Eagles, formerly known as the Pelicans, are a member of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.


  1. ^ a b Spalding University - AIKCU Schools
  2. ^ Spalding University - Best Colleges - Education - US News and World Report
  3. ^ Spalding University - School of Nursing
  4. ^ Jones, Elizabeth F. Tompkins-Buchanan House [Spalding University]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1977. "The Beautiful House of Bankrupt Whiskey King Despoiled by Auctioneer--Best People Among Buyers." In Samuel W., and William Morgan. Old Louisville: The Victorian Era. Louisville, KY: Data Courier for the Courier-Journal, Louisville Times, 1975. Originally published in Courier-Journal. December 17, 1884. Louisville, KY.

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