Midway University

  (Redirected from Kentucky Female Orphan School)

Midway University is a private Christian liberal arts university in Midway, Kentucky. Related by covenant to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), it enrolls approximately 1,600 students earning two-year and four-year degrees as well as master's degrees. Midway was the only women's college in Kentucky until 2016. In May 2016, Midway's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to begin admitting male undergraduates for the first time in the school's history in the fall 2017 semester.[2] The Day College offers majors in business, marketing, equine studies, sports management, English, mathematics, biology, nursing, psychology, criminal justice and teacher education. In addition to the Day College, Midway University offers evening and online accelerated degree-completion programs for working adults.[3]

Midway University
Midway University logo.jpg
MottoAma Vicinum Acte
TypePrivate Liberal Arts
AffiliationChristian Church (Disciples of Christ)
PresidentDr. John P. Marsden
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States
AthleticsNAIA - RSC


Midway University originally opened as the Kentucky Female Orphan School on October 3, 1849, with one teacher and sixteen female students. The nine members of the Board of Trustees oversaw the school's endowment, the building and five acres of land.[4]

The co-founders of the school were Dr. L.L. (Lewis Letig) Pinkerton (1812–1875),[5] minister of the Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1844 to 1860,[6] and Mr. James Ware Parrish, a Midway Christian Church elder. They obtained a charter on February 17, 1847, from the Kentucky legislature through the help of Kentucky Senator Major George W. Williams.[7] Before the school was permitted to open, an endowment of twenty-five thousand dollars had to be secured and investments made. This time was used for soliciting funds, purchasing land, construction of a building, and drafting and outline of government and management for the school.

John Dawson was Superintendent and his wife, Mary, was Matron when the Kentucky Female Orphan School opened in 1849. Associate principal and assistant matron, Eliza Davies, wrote that in those early days the "house was not furnished; the girls slept on straw mattresses; the floors were uncarpeted."[8]

The Kentucky Female Orphan School girls' education was directed by four main points:

  1. The development and corroboration of the moral constitution.
  2. The improvement of the intellectual powers.
  3. The development of the physical powers.
  4. Such direction of all the capabilities and attainments of the pupils, as will afford them the best prospect of a livelihood, in the useful and honorable employment of their requirements.[9]

The early years of operation had four grades. They were compared to an intensive high school education which included all courses: Ray's Higher Arithmetic, two years of Algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, physics, botany, physiology, psychology, astronomy, physical geography, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, zoology, grammar, spelling, diacritical marks, rhetoric, American and English Literature, classics, U.S. History, English History, ancient, medieval, and modern history, Latin, and instrumental and vocal music. Sixteen credits were required to graduate, but according to the school president Miss Lucy Peterson many students graduated with twenty-five credits.

The school served, at various times, as an elementary and high school, and eventually became a junior college and, then a fully accredited baccalaureate-granting institution as Midway College. As a career training provider, the Kentucky Female Orphan School identified the needs of the community, the resources in the area and the demand for higher education. The intention was to empower disadvantaged women with an education in the field of teaching. On July 1, 2015, the college changed its name to Midway University.[10] In the Fall semester of 2016, Midway University admitted men to its day program for the first time.


The school is located on a 200-acre (0.81 km2) working farm in the heart of the Kentucky Bluegrass region. The campus overlooks Midway, a small town in central Kentucky. The National Park Service placed Pinkerton Hall, the oldest building on campus, on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1974.[11]

Academic buildingsEdit

  • Equine Education Center houses a 105-foot (32 m) x 235-foot (72 m) indoor riding arena, eight stalls, laboratory, classroom, a large tack room, audio-visual room, wash stall and faculty offices.
  • Keeneland Barn contains equipment for horse rehabilitation, a tack room, wash room, office space, and 16 stalls for horses.
  • Ashland Equine Barn contains 8 stalls, office space, and a washroom.
  • Marrs Hall, with a clock tower, houses the Arthur Young Lloyd Board Room, and the Office of the President, Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations on the first floor. In 2020, the building had a major renovation and now houses the University's Welcome Center on the top floor which includes the Admissions Office, Business Office, and Financial Aid, making this a one stop location for prospective students and their families. The lower-level houses the Accounting, Human Resources and Marketing offices.
  • Starks Hall was built in 1925 and served as a major classroom building for the campus. It was demolished and replaced with the Learning Resource Center, which sits atop its footprint.
  • The Learning Resource Center (on the original footprint of Starks Hall) was built in 2010, and serves as the main classroom building on campus. The building also contains the offices of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Dean of Arts & Science, the Dean of Business, Equine and Sport Studies  and the Registrar. The Teacher Education division is housed on the second floor, along with classrooms and faculty offices. The basement houses the Equine Division's administrative offices, along with additional classrooms and faculty office space.
  • Anne Hart Raymond Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology opened in the fall 2003 semester. A 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) building with laboratories for biology, anatomy, microbiology/immunology, botany, physics, chemistry and physical/environmental science. Faculty members and upper-level students have access to dedicated laboratory space to pursue more advanced research projects. Additionally, the building has a 450-seat auditorium, classrooms, and faculty offices.
Historic Pinkerton Hall

Residential buildingsEdit

  • Buster Hall is a traditional-style rooms with community bathrooms on each floor as well as washers and dryers on each floor and is the largest residence hall (2).
  • Belle Wisdom Hall students live in suite-style rooms, sharing private bathrooms with 2–4 residents. Belle is the oldest dorm on the campus.
  • Pinkerton Hall was the first building on campus and housed all the functions of the Kentucky Female Orphan School before being converted to offices. The building was renovated in Summer 2019 to return it to housing.


Midway University teams are known as the Eagles. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the River States Conference (RSC). Women's sports include archery, basketball, cross country, eSports (coming Fall 2020) equestrian (hunt seat, western and Dressage), soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.[3] As of the 2016–17 school year, men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer and tennis. Men's wrestling was added in fall 2018 and for fall 2019 men and women's bowling will be added as well as men's track and field.https://www.midway.edu/2018/10/12/additional-athletic-programs-announced-for-2019-20/


Ring ShieldEdit

  • Lamp: truth and knowledge
  • Date: 1847
  • Key: knowledge
  • Oak Leaf: strength
  • Star: merit, guidance, heavenly wisdom
  • Scales: justice
  • Wings: protection, chivalry
  • Trumpet vine: Kentucky
  • Shield: faith, protection
  • School Colors: blue, gold and white
  • School Motto: Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself

Night of LightsEdit

A truly unique tradition, Night of Lights marks the end of the academic year with its special way of enabling friends to say farewell. Small candles are floated down the stream by the Path of Opportunity. Legend has it that if the candle stays aflame while passing beneath the bridge, one's wish will come true.

Pinkerton BellEdit

Originally used to signal wake-up, meals and classes, now, the bell sends out its glad tidings for any happy occasion.

Alma Mater (school song)Edit

Here banded together, dear Old Alma Mater
Secure in our heritage by old girls bequeathed,
Led by their conquests and the future offered,
We trust to thy wise guidance, thy voice of wisdom heed,
We trust to thy wise guidance, our youth and its need.
Then forth from thy doors, dear Alma Mater send us,
All ready to honor thee wher'ere we may be,
Strong in self-knowledge, wise in understanding
We sing now to thy glory, our strength thy victory,
We sing now to thy glory, we offer to thee.

Original words by Lucy Peterson, 1906–1962, sung to the tune Adeste Fideles. Amended by Dr. Tracey Miller, 1990.

Notable facultyEdit


  1. ^ a b c As of fall 2018. "Fourth Year of Record Undergraduate Enrollment Announced". Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Blackford, Linda B. (May 16, 2016). "Midway University to accept men as undergrads". Lexington Herald-Leader.
  3. ^ a b Midway College-Quick Facts Retrieved on 2010-2-10
  4. ^ Peterson, Lucy. Miss Lucy's Story, As She Saw It. Midway, Kentucky: Midway College, 1960.
  5. ^ "Dr. L. L. Pinkerton: An Early Change Agent". Christianity: Then and Now on-line. Archived from the original on January 14, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Midway Christian Church, 1844-1998" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 20, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. ^ Balmer, Alberta Luanna. "A Study of the Kentucky Female Orphan School", Masters thesis, University of Kentucky, 1942.
  8. ^ Davies, Eliza (1881). The Story of an Earnest Life: A Woman's Adventures in Australia, and in Two Voyages Around the World (Google eBook). Central Book Concern.
  9. ^ Millennial Harbinger, Vol. V, No. XI, p. 712.
  10. ^ "Midway College Makes the Transformation into Midway University". Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  11. ^ National Register of Historic Places:Woodford County, KY Retrieved on 2010-2-10

Coordinates: 38°08′46″N 84°40′44″W / 38.14611°N 84.67889°W / 38.14611; -84.67889

External linksEdit