Eastern Kentucky University

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 or EKU) is a public university in Richmond, Kentucky. As a regional comprehensive institution, EKU also maintains branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Lancaster, and Manchester and offers over 40 online undergraduate and graduate options.[9][10]

Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern Kentucky University seal.svg
MottoWhere Students and Learning Come First
TypePublic university
Established1874 (1874)/1906[1]
Academic affiliations
Endowment$92.2 million (2021)[2]
PresidentDavid McFaddin
ProvostDr. Sara Zeigler
Academic staff
563 full-time (Spring 2022) and 410 part-time (Spring 2022)[3]
Administrative staff
1,554 full-time[4]
Students14,465 (Spring 2022)[5]
Undergraduates12,070 (Spring 2022)[6]
Postgraduates2,395 (Spring 2022)[7]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsMaroon and White[8]
Eastern Kentucky University wordmark.svg



Central University was founded in 1874 in Richmond, Kentucky. Beset with financial difficulties and small enrollment, Central University consolidated with Centre College in 1901.

On March 21, 1906, the Governor signed legislation which established the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1.[citation needed] On May 7,1906, the Normal School Commission selected the site of the former Central University campus as the location of the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1; the site continues to serve as the location of EKU.[citation needed]


In 1922, "Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1" changed its name to "Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College;" the College awarded its first degrees under that name in 1925. In 1930, "Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College" changed its name to "Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College." In 1948, the General Assembly removed the word "Teachers" from the school's name. In 1966, the institution was officially renamed Eastern Kentucky University.[citation needed]

Campus revitalizationEdit

The years since 2012 have been marked by a 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

Accreditation and academic chargeEdit

In 1922, it became a four-year institution.[citation needed]

In 1928, the college received its initial accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[citation needed] As of 2022, the university is accredited.[19]

In 1935, Eastern added graduate studies. In 1948, the state legislature granted the college the right to award nonprofessional degrees.[citation needed]

In 2010, the University awarded its first doctoral degree through its Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.[1][20]

EKU serves its service region by offering adult degree completion options and online degree programs in addition to its traditional on-campus offerings.[10][21]


Eastern Kentucky University has achieved national recognition, including mostly recently by the U.S. News & World Report 2022 Rankings:

  • #52 (tie) in Regional Universities South (51st in 2021)
  • #29 Best Graduate School – Occupational Therapy (29th in 2021)[22]
  • #170 (tie) Best Graduate School – Public Affairs (166th in 2021)
  • #189 Best Graduate School – Speech-Language Pathology (189th in 2021)
  • #74 (tie) Best Online Bachelor's Programs (58th in 2021)
  • #24 Best Colleges for Veterans (32nd in 2021)

EKU was also ranked by the 2019 Forbes Magazine America's Top Colleges:[23]

  • #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)[citation needed]

Honors programEdit

In 1987, the faculty senate voted to approve an honors program to attract high-achieving students primarily from Kentucky.[24] The Board of Regents approved the proposal on January 16, 1988.[25] The first 34 students entered the program in the fall semester of 1988 under the direction of Dr. Bonnie Gray, a professor of philosophy.[26] 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.[citation needed]

Each year, the honors program sends the largest delegation to the annual National Collegiate Honors Council Conference to present their research. Additionally, students in the program have received awards, including the Fulbright. Truman, Mitchell, and Phi Kappa Phi.[citation needed]

In 2020, the program consisted of five full-time staff and approximately 496 students.[citation needed]

Student lifeEdit

There are more than 230 registered, active student organizations on campus including the Student Government Association (SGA) and numerous fraternities and sororities.[citation needed]

Student Government AssociationEdit

The SGA is the formal student governing body of the University. Founded in 1954, the organization consisted of the Student Council (which became the Student Senate in 1971). Currently, the SGA consists of three independent and equal branches: the Student Court, Executive Branch, and Student Activities Council. Additionally, an Advisory Board of University employees provides advice and oversight.[citation needed]

Every student enrolled in classes at the University is considered a member of the SGA.[citation needed]

Greek lifeEdit

Fraternities Sororities
North American Interfraternity Conference National Pan-Hellenic Council National Panhellenic Conference National Pan-Hellenic Council Service Sororities
Alpha Tau Omega Alpha Phi Alpha Alpha Delta Pi Alpha Kappa Alpha Kappa Delta Tau
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


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.[citation needed]

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.[27]


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

The Eastern Kentucky (EKU) athletic teams are called the Colonels (formerly known as the "Maroons" until the mid-1960s). The university is a member of the NCAA Division I ranks, primarily competing in the ASUN Conference since the 2021–22 academic year; while its football team competes in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) until the ASUN launches its own football league, most likely in the 2022 fall season. The Colonels previously competed in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) from 1948–49 to 2020–21. EKU competes in 18 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, tennis and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, beach volleyball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]



Launched in 1968, WEKU is a charter member of the educational radio network, National Public Radio (NPR).[28] WEKU features NPR news and talk programming in addition to locally produced news, arts and cultural programming.

WEKU broadcasts across nine FM stations in Central and Eastern Kentucky:

WEKU also has a 24-hour classical musical channel which can be accessed via its website and mobile app.

The Eastern ProgressEdit

The Eastern Progress, also known as The EP, began in February 1922 and serves as the official student newspaper.[31]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ a b Great Journeys Begin Here. "About EKU | Eastern Kentucky University | Eastern Kentucky University". Eku.edu. Archived from the original on November 13, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. Record-Breaking Year for Development at EKU (Report).
  3. ^ "College Navigator - Eastern Kentucky University".
  4. ^ "EKU Fact Book". Eastern Kentucky University Institutional Research. 2015.
  5. ^ "College Navigator - Eastern Kentucky University".
  6. ^ "College Navigator - Eastern Kentucky University".
  7. ^ "College Navigator - Eastern Kentucky University".
  8. ^ EKU Visual Identity (PDF). EKU. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "EKU Regional Campuses". eku.edu.
  10. ^ a b "Accredited Online Degree Programs from EKU – Earn Your Degree Online – Online Degree Programs – – 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. ^ "Accreditation & Recognition". Eastern Kentucky University. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  20. ^ Eastern Kentucky University, EKU Undergraduate Catalog. 2007–2008. pg 6
  21. ^ "Finish Your Degree – Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu.
  22. ^ "U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings". U.S. News. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  23. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University". Forbes. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  24. ^ "Faculty senate approves proposal for honors program". The Eastern Progress. November 5, 1987. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  25. ^ Marsee, Mike (January 21, 1988). "Honors program endorsed by board". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  26. ^ Risner, Brent (September 1, 1988). "Honors program completes first week of curriculum". The Eastern Progress. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU Encompass.
  27. ^ "Big E Welcome Schedule | First-Year Experience | Eastern Kentucky University". firstyear.eku.edu. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  28. ^ "About". WEKU. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  29. ^ "About WEKU". WEKU About. WEKU-FM. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  30. ^ "Coverage Map". WEKU. Retrieved May 8, 2022.
  31. ^ "The Eastern Progress". February 1922. Retrieved December 18, 2016 – via EKU – Encompass.
  32. ^ "Trainer - Danny Copeland". Cogi Athletic Company. Retrieved March 28, 2018.
  33. ^ "Danny Copeland". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  34. ^ "Dale Dawson". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  35. ^ "Jessamyn Duke - Official UFC® Fighter Profile". www.ufc.com. September 14, 2018.
  36. ^ "Myron Guyton". databaseFootball.com. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.

External linksEdit