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Simmons College of Kentucky

Courtesy of Simmons College of Kentucky In Et Cetera, a profile of Louisville’s historically black college — Simmons College of Kentucky.

Known originally as the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute, Simmons was established in 1879 by former slaves. It is the state’s oldest black-owned, -operated and financially supported institution of higher education. It is owned by the General Association of Kentucky Baptists.

Simmons flourished under the guidance of its second president, Rev. Dr. William J. Simmons, for whom it was renamed. Simmons helped the school expand course offerings, add competitive sports and gain full university status.

Courtesy of Simmons College of Kentucky The original Simmons campus, located at 7th and Kentucky Streets in Louisville, was a place where black teachers, ministers, lawyers and physicians trained, until the property went into foreclosure during The Great Depression. Simmons then relocated and continued operating solely as a theological school.

However in 2007, Simmons College of Kentucky experienced resurgence.

Under the leadership of its 13th President, Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, Simmons College of Kentucky returned to its original campus.

More than 75 years in the making, this accomplishment received national coverage in such publications as Ebony magazine. According to Simmons, this has never before been undertaken in the history of black colleges.

Today, Simmons College of Kentucky remains an institution of biblical higher education dedicated to nurturing those who will be “agents of change in society.”

In February 2010, Simmons College of Kentucky was approved for accreditation by The Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), Orlando, Fla.

To learn more about the history of Simmons, its leaders and its legacy, visit the Simmons Web site.

Meet the 13th President of Simmons College of Kentucky in our Season One interview with Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby.

Program 418
"Louisville Life" features native Louisvillian Wes Cowan of PBS's "Antiques Road Show" and "History Detectives", Crazy Daisy Antique Mall, the historic Simmons College of Kentucky, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and more. (#418)