Eastern Kentucky University

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Eastern Kentucky University
Kentucky uni logo.png
Motto Where Students and Learning Come First
Type Public
Established 1906[1]
Endowment $60,170,893
President Michael T. Benson
Provost Janna Vice
Academic staff
687 full-time[2]
Administrative staff
1554 full-time[2]
Students 15,975[3]
Undergraduates 13,532
Postgraduates 2,443[2]
Location Richmond, Kentucky, U.S.
Colors Maroon and White[4]
Nickname Colonels
Website www.eku.edu

Eastern Kentucky University, commonly referred to as Eastern or EKU, is a regional comprehensive institution located in Richmond, Kentucky. EKU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).[5] It maintains branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Somerset, Danville, Lancaster, and Manchester; and offers more than 40 online undergraduate and graduate options.[6][7]


Central University was founded in 1874 on the present site of Eastern Kentucky University. In 1901, beset with financial difficulties and small enrollment, Central University agreed to consolidation with Centre College. The Kentucky General Assembly of 1906 enacted legislation establishing the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1. The legislation was signed into law by the governor on March 21, 1906. On May 7, 1906, the Normal School Commission selected the site of the former Central University campus to be the location of the new school. In 1922 it became a four-year institution and changed its name to the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College, awarding its first degrees under that name in 1925. The school received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 1928; then, two years later, in 1930, it changed its name again to the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College. Eastern added graduate studies in 1935, and thirteen years later, in 1948, the General Assembly removed the word Teachers from the school's name, and granted it the right to award nonprofessional degrees. It was not until 1966 that the school was officially renamed Eastern Kentucky University. In 2010, the university awarded its first doctoral degree—in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.[1][8] EKU continues to serve its service region by offering adult degree completion options and online degree programs in addition to its traditional on-campus offerings.[7][9]

Campus revitalization[edit]

The years between 2012 and 2017 have been marked by a significant building campaign that has altered the campus layout, enhanced academic quality, and improved aesthetics. Funding for the multimillion dollar project has relied heavily on public-private partnerships (P3) under the leadership of current President Michael T. Benson. The recent construction efforts at the university mark the most significant period of campus facility development since President Robert R. Martin's tenure in the 1960s. Among the renovations and additions during this decade are:

  • New Science Building (Phase II) (2017)
  • Brockton Hall (2017)
  • New Martin Hall (2017)
  • Baseball and softball fields (2017)[10]
  • Carloftis Garden (2017)
  • Scholar House (2017)[11]
  • Turner Gate (2016)[12]
  • John Grant Crabbe Main Library's Noel Reading Porch (2015)[13]
  • Lancaster Avenue Pedway (2015)
  • Hummel Planetarium upgrades (2015)
  • 1971 Verdin Carillon bells (Keen Johnson Building) (2014)[14]
  • New Hall 2013
  • New Science Building (Phase I) (2012)[15]



Eastern Kentucky University has achieved national recognition including mostly recently by the U.S. News & World Report 2017 Rankings:

  • #29 (tie) in Top Public Schools
  • #79 (tie) in Regional Universities South
  • #372 (tie) in Business Programs[16]
  • #18 (tie) Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs
  • #63 (tie) Best Online Bachelor's Programs[17]
  • #78 (tie) Best Online Graduate Education Programs

Forbes Magazine 2016 rankings of America's Top Colleges also has recognized EKU:[18]

  • #644 Top Colleges
  • #251 in Public Colleges
  • #183 in the South

Additional recognitions include:

  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching's 2015 Community Engagement Classification[19]
  • 3 Star Premier University by Campus Pride for LGBTQ+ student resources and services[20]
  • G.I. Jobs Magazine Military Friendly Recognition (2016)[21]
  • Chronicle of Higher Education's 2016 Great Colleges to Work For[22]
  • #37 Graduate School Occupational Therapy Programs by the 2016 U.S. News Best Graduate Schools rankings[23]
  • 2016 recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine[24]
  • #17 Best for Vets Colleges 2017 by the MilitaryTimes[25]


  • College of Business and Technology
  • College of Education
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Justice and Safety
  • College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences
  • College of Science

Honors Program[edit]

On Monday, November 4, 1987, the Faculty Senate voted to approve an Honors Program to attract high achieving students in Kentucky.[26] The Board of Regents subsequently approved the proposal on Saturday, January 16, 1988.[27] The first 34 students entered the program beginning in the fall semester of 1988 under the direction of Dr. Bonnie Gray, a Professor of Philosophy who was appointed by then-President Funderburk in April of that year.[28] Dr. Gray retired in 2008 having served as a well-known and beloved Director of the Program for 20 years. The curriculum is interdisciplinary and capped by a Senior Thesis project. Students who successfully complete all program requirements receive the "Honors Scholar" designation on their diplomas.

Today, the Honors Program is nationally recognized. Each year the Program sends the largest delegation to the annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference where students present their research. Additionally, students in the Program have received prestigious awards including the Fulbright, the Truman, the Mitchell, and the Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. Currently, Dr. David Coleman directs the Program which consists of five full-time staff and approximately 496 students.


  • John Grant Crabbe Library
  • Business Library and Academic Commons
  • Music Library Branch

Student life[edit]

More than 230 Registered Student Organizations are active on campus, including Greek chapters, political organizations, the Student Government Association, the EKU BassMasters, EKU Kendo Club and the EKU Anime Club. Many of these organizations routinely hold events, programs, and fundraisers.

Student Government Association[edit]

The Student Government Association is the formal student governing body consisting of executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The Association is a Registered Student Organization, and every student enrolled in classes at the university is considered a member.

Greek life[edit]

Eastern Kentucky University has a vital and active Greek community with a rich history of philanthropy and campus/community service.

North-American Interfraternity Conference National Pan-Hellenic Council National Panhellenic Conference National Pan-Hellenic Council
Alpha Tau Omega Alpha Phi Alpha Alpha Delta Pi Alpha Kappa Alpha
Beta Theta Pi Iota Phi Theta Alpha Gamma Delta Delta Sigma Theta
Kappa Alpha Order Phi Beta Sigma Alpha Omicron Pi Zeta Phi Beta
Kappa Sigma Omega Psi Phi Chi Omega
Lambda Chi Alpha Kappa Alpha Theta
Phi Delta Theta Kappa Delta
Pi Kappa Alpha Pi Beta Phi
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Delta Zeta
Sigma Chi
Sigma Nu
Sigma Pi
Tau Kappa Epsilon
Theta Chi


Referred to as the "Maroons" until the mid-1960s, the Eastern Colonels compete in the NCAA's Division I (Football Championship Subdivision in football) in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The school is best known for its Football Championship Subdivision football team, which has captured 22 OVC conference titles and two Division I-AA National Championships in 1979 and 1982. Much of the success came during the long tenure of head coach Roy Kidd from 1964 to 2002. Kidd, with a career coaching record of 314-124-8, is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Now led by first-year coach Mark Elder, the Colonels returned to the national FCS playoffs in 2011.

The EKU men's basketball team won the Ohio Valley Conference tournament championship and its automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournament in 2005, 2007, and 2014.

The Men's and Women's Cross Country Team has also been a staple of success over the recent decade. The Men's Team has won all ten of the last ten OVC Championships, and the women have won nine of the last ten. In 2011 the Men's Cross Country Team qualified for NCAA National Cross Country Meet for the first time in school history. Since 2011, the team has qualified for the NCAA National Cross Country Meet five consecutive times.


EKU has few notable traditions. Perhaps the most prominent, however, is the rubbing of Daniel Boone's left foot for good luck. The statue features prominently in front of the Keen John Building. More recently, Eastern President Benson has initiated the Welcome Walk at the beginning of the fall semester. First Year students gather in front of Keen Johnson Building with the President before walking along University Drive and passing through the new Turner Gate.[29]


The Eastern Progress[edit]

The Eastern Progress began in February 1922 and serves as the official student newspaper.[30]


Main article: WEKU

Founded on October 7, 1968, WEKU (88.9 FM) is a National Public Radio-affiliated station owned by Eastern Kentucky University. It primarily features NPR news and talk programming, along with classical music from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. at night. WEKU also operates satellite stations WEKP (90.1 FM) in Pineville, WEKH (90.9 FM) in Hazard, WEKF (88.5 FM) in Corbin and three translators in Middlesboro (102.5 FM, W273AY), Barbourville (96.9 FM, W245AS) and Pikeville (95.1 FM, W251AI).[31]

WEKU competes with the University of Kentucky's WUKY, making Lexington one of the smallest markets with two competing full NPR member stations. EKU also programs former smooth jazz station WKYL 102.1 FM as a primarily classical music service and sister to WEKU.

Enrollment statistics[edit]

Student body profile[edit]

In the fall 2015 semester, the student population represented multiple and diverse backgrounds including:

  • Women: 57.5%
  • Men: 42.5%
  • White non-Hispanic: 83.1%
  • Black non-Hispanic: 5.9%
  • Other or multi races: 5%
  • Two or more races: 2.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 2%
  • Non-resident Alien: 1.8%
  • Asian non-Hispanic: 0.9%
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.3%
  • Nat. Hawaiian or Pac. Islander: 0.1%
  • Unknown: 3.7%

Enrollment by campus[edit]

In the fall of 2014, there were more than 16,000 students at the main, regional, and online campuses:

  • Total enrollment for all campuses: 16,567
  • Main Campus (Richmond): 12,357
  • Corbin Campus: 500
  • Danville Campus: 318
  • Manchester Campus: 190
  • Somerset: 42
  • Ecampus: 2,671
  • Online: 1,707

University Presidents[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Great Journeys Begin Here. "About EKU | Eastern Kentucky University | Eastern Kentucky University". Eku.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "EKU Fact Book" (PDF). Eastern Kentucky University Institutional Research. 2015. 
  3. ^ http://stories.eku.edu/people/regents-applaud-positive-enrollment-report
  4. ^ EKU Visual Identity (PDF). EKU. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  5. ^ "EKU 2016-2017 Undergraduate Catalogue" (PDF). http://catalogs.eku.edu/sites/catalogs.eku.edu/files/files/2016-17%20Undergraduate%20Catalog_EKU.pdf.  External link in |website= (help)
  6. ^ "EKU Regional Campuses". eku.edu. 
  7. ^ a b "Accredited Online Degree Programs from EKU - Earn Your Degree Online - Online Degree Programs - - Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu. 
  8. ^ Eastern Kentucky University, EKU Undergraduate Catalog. 2007-2008. pg 6
  9. ^ "Finish Your Degree -- Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu. 
  10. ^ "Renovations Begin For EKU Baseball & Softball Stadiums". 
  11. ^ "Construction Begins on Scholar House". 
  12. ^ "Gate Dream Come True For Turners | EKU Stories | Eastern Kentucky University". stories.eku.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  13. ^ "Noel Reading Porch | EKU Libraries | Eastern Kentucky University". library.eku.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-29. 
  14. ^ Benson, Michael (May 2014). "The President's Report: May 2014" (PDF). EKU. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  15. ^ Benson, Michael (May 2014). "The President's Report: May 2014" (PDF). EKU. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University Best Colleges Rankings". usnews.com. Retrieved December 17, 2016..  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  17. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University - U.S. News Best Online Programs Rankings". Retrieved December 17, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  19. ^ "Carnegie Honors EKU for Community Engagement". www.eku.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  20. ^ "Campus Pride Index". www.campusprideindex.org. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  21. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University - Colleges, Universities, and Schools for Veterans - GI Jobs". www.gijobs.com. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  22. ^ "Great Colleges to Work For 2016". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  23. ^ "Search: Health Programs | US News". Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  24. ^ "INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine Announces Recipients of Its 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award". http://www.insightintodiversity.com/insight-into-diversity-magazine-announces-recipients-of-its-2016-higher-education-excellence-in-diversity-award/. INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine. August 31, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016.  External link in |website= (help)
  25. ^ "Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 - Military Times". bestforvets.militarytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-12-18. 
  26. ^ "Faculty senate approves proposal for honors program". The Eastern Progress. November 5, 1987. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass. 
  27. ^ Marsee, Mike (January 21, 1988). "Honors program endorsed by board". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass. 
  28. ^ Risner, Brent (September 1, 1988). "Honors progam [sic] completes first week of curriculum". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass. 
  29. ^ "Big E Welcome Schedule | First-Year Experience | Eastern Kentucky University". firstyear.eku.edu. Retrieved 2016-12-30. 
  30. ^ "The Eastern Progress". The Eastern Progress. February 1922. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU - Encompass. 
  31. ^ "About WEKU". WEKU-FM. Retrieved December 19, 2016. 
  32. ^ "HugeDomains.com - CogiAthletics.com is for sale". Cogi Athletics. Retrieved 2015-10-26. 
  33. ^ "Danny Copeland". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Dale Dawson". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
  35. ^ http://www.ufc.com/fighter/Jessamyn-Duke?id=
  36. ^ "Myron Guyton". databaseFootball.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 

External links[edit]