Eastern Kentucky University

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Coordinates: 37°44′2.9562″N 84°18′5.1631″W / 37.734154500°N 84.301434194°W / 37.734154500; -84.301434194

Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University seal.svg
MottoWhere Students and Learning Come First
TypePublic university
Established1874; 147 years ago (1874)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$54.1 million (2020)[2]
PresidentDavid McFaddin
ProvostDr. Sara Zeigler
Academic staff
687 full-time[3]
Administrative staff
1,554 full-time[3]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsMaroon and White[5]
Eastern Kentucky University wordmark.svg

Eastern Kentucky University (Eastern or EKU) is a public university in Richmond, Kentucky. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[6] It maintains branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Lancaster, and Manchester and offers more than 40 online undergraduate and graduate options.[7][8]


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][9] 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.[8][10]

Campus revitalization[edit]

The years since 2012 have been marked by a significant building campaign that has altered the campus layout and improved aesthetics. Funding for the multimillion dollar project has relied heavily on public-private partnerships (P3) under the leadership of then-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 are:

  • Powell Student Center (2019–20)[11]
  • New Rec Center (2019–20)[12]
  • Case Dining Hall (2018)[12]
  • New Science Building (Phase II) (2017)
  • New Earle Combs Stadium (Baseball Field) (2017)
  • New Gertrude Hood Stadium (Softball Field) (2017)[13]
  • Carloftis Garden (2017)
  • New Martin Hall (2017)
  • North Hall (previously known as New Hall B) (2017)
  • Scholar House (2017)[14]
  • Parking Garage (2017)
  • Turner Gate (2016)[15]
  • John Grant Crabbe Main Library's Noel Reading Porch (2015)[16]
  • Lancaster Avenue Pedway (2015/2017)[17]
  • Hummel Planetarium upgrades (2015)
  • 1971 Verdin Carillon bells (Keen Johnson Building) (2014)[18]
  • New Hall 2013
  • New Science Building (Phase I) (2012)[18]


Commonwealth Hall at Eastern Kentucky University in 2011


Eastern Kentucky University has achieved national recognition, including mostly recently by the U.S. News & World Report 2021 Rankings:

  • #51 (tie) in Regional Universities South (76th in 2019)
  • #29 Best Graduate School – Occupational Therapy (29th in 2019)[19]
  • #166 (tie) Best Graduate School – Public Affairs (166th in 2019)
  • #189 Best Graduate School – Speech-Language Pathology (163rd in 2019)
  • #58 (tie) Best Online Bachelor's Programs (99th in 2019)
  • #32 Best Colleges for Veterans

EKU was also ranked by the 2019 Forbes Magazine America's Top Colleges:[20]

  • #641 Top Colleges (637 in 2017 and 647 in 2018)
  • #248 in Public Colleges (249 in 2017 and 250 in 2018)
  • #160 in the South (172 in 2017 and 167 in 2018)

Honors program[edit]

In 1987, the faculty senate voted to approve an honors program to attract high-achieving students primarily from Kentucky.[21] The board of regents subsequently approved the proposal on Saturday, January 16, 1988.[22] 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.[23] Dr. Gray retired in 2008, having served as the well-respected 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.

Each year the honors 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 awards, including the Fulbright. Truman, Mitchell, and Phi Kappa Phi. In 2020, the program consisted of five full-time staff and approximately 496 students.

Student life[edit]

More than 230 registered student organizations are active on campus.

Student Government Association[edit]

The Student Government Association is the formal student governing body of the university. It was founded in 1954, with Ron Coffman serving as its first president and only consisted of a Student Council. In addition to the Student Council, which became the Student Senate in 1971, the SGA now has a Student Court, Executive Branch, and Student Activities Council which all act as independent branches of the government. Additionally, an Advisory Board of University employees provides advice and oversight. The association controls thousands of dollars in student money through an IT fund, RSO fund, diversity grant, and other sources. Every student enrolled in classes at the university is considered a member and able to vote in elections for Student Senators, the President, the Executive Vice President, and the Vice President of Student Activities.[citation needed]

Greek life[edit]

Fraternities Sororities
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 Omega Psi Phi Alpha Omicron Pi Zeta Phi Beta
Kappa Sigma (former NIC member) Phi Beta Sigma Chi Omega
Lambda Chi Alpha (former NIC member) Delta Zeta
Phi Delta Theta (former NIC member) Kappa Alpha Theta
Phi Kappa Tau Kappa Delta
Pi Kappa Alpha
Sigma Chi
Sigma Nu
Sigma Pi
Tau Kappa Epsilon (former NIC member)
Theta Chi


The EKU football team playing against the University of Louisville in 2013

Referred to as the "Maroons" until the mid-1960s, the Eastern Colonels competed in the NCAA's Division I (Football Championship Subdivision in football) in the Ohio Valley Conference until the end of the 2020-21 season.. The Colonels will move to the ASUN Conference in July 2021; at that time, the football team joined the Western Athletic Conference until the ASUN launches its own football league, most likely in 2022.

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 Walt Wells, the Colonels returned to the national FCS playoffs in 2011.

The Eastern Kentucky University 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.


Among EKU's most prominent traditions is the rubbing of Daniel Boone's left foot for good luck; the statue features prominently in front of the Keen Johnson Building.

The statue features prominently in front of the Keen Johnson Building. More recently, former President Benson 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.[24]


The Eastern Progress[edit]

The Eastern Progress, also known as The EP began in February 1922 and serves as the official student newspaper.[25]


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 Kentucky/Folk music on the weekends. WEKU operates 8 satellite stations including WEKP (90.1 FM) in Pineville, WEKH (90.9 FM) in Hazard, WEKF (88.5 FM) in Corbin and five translators in Middlesboro (102.5 FM, W273AY), Barbourville (96.9 FM, W245AS), Pikeville (95.1 FM, W251AI), Frankfort (106.7 FM, W294BG) and Harlan (96.3 FM, W242BR).[26]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Great Journeys Begin Here. "About EKU | Eastern Kentucky University | Eastern Kentucky University". Eku.edu. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. REPORT ON AUDIT OF INSTITUTION OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH UNIFORM GUIDANCE (PDF) (Report). Eastern Kentucky University]. June 30, 2021. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "EKU Fact Book". Eastern Kentucky University Institutional Research. 2015.
  4. ^ a b c As of fall 2018. "Student headcount by level: All public institutions (2006-16)" (PDF). Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  5. ^ EKU Visual Identity (PDF). EKU. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "EKU 2016–2017 Undergraduate Catalogue" (PDF). catalogs.eku.edu.
  7. ^ "EKU Regional Campuses". eku.edu.
  8. ^ a b "Accredited Online Degree Programs from EKU – Earn Your Degree Online – Online Degree Programs – – Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu.
  9. ^ Eastern Kentucky University, EKU Undergraduate Catalog. 2007–2008. pg 6
  10. ^ "Finish Your Degree – Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu.
  11. ^ Barker, Ricki (August 18, 2017). "Eastern continues to expand its 'campus beautiful'". Richmond Register. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  12. ^ a b "New Residence Halls, Science Bldg. Phase 2 Open". EKU Builds. July 25, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  13. ^ "Renovations Begin For EKU Baseball & Softball Stadiums". Eastern Kentucky University Athletics.
  14. ^ "Construction Begins On Scholar House | EKU Stories | Eastern Kentucky University". stories.eku.edu.
  15. ^ "Gate Dream Come True For Turners | EKU Stories | Eastern Kentucky University". stories.eku.edu. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  16. ^ "Noel Reading Porch | EKU Libraries | Eastern Kentucky University". library.eku.edu. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  17. ^ Eads, Morgan (January 17, 2017). "EKU pedway reopens months after being damaged in crash". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  18. ^ a b Benson, Michael (May 2014). "The President's Report: May 2014" (PDF). EKU. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  19. ^ "U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings". U.S. News. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  20. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University". Forbes. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  21. ^ "Faculty senate approves proposal for honors program". The Eastern Progress. November 5, 1987. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  22. ^ Marsee, Mike (January 21, 1988). "Honors program endorsed by board". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  23. ^ Risner, Brent (September 1, 1988). "Honors progam [sic] completes first week of curriculum". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  24. ^ "Big E Welcome Schedule | First-Year Experience | Eastern Kentucky University". firstyear.eku.edu. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  25. ^ "The Eastern Progress". The Eastern Progress. February 1922. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU – Encompass.
  26. ^ "About WEKU". WEKU-FM. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  27. ^ "Trainer - Danny Copeland". Cogi Athletic Company. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  28. ^ "Danny Copeland". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  29. ^ "Dale Dawson". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  30. ^ "Jessamyn Duke - Official UFC® Fighter Profile". www.ufc.com.
  31. ^ "Myron Guyton". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.

External links[edit]