Eastern Kentucky University
Latin: Universitas Orientalis Kentuckiensis
Former names
Central University (1874–1901)
Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1 (1906–1922)
Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College (1922–1930)
Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College (1930–1948)
Eastern Kentucky State College (1948–1966)
MottoWhere Students and Learning Come First
TypePublic university
Established1874; 150 years ago (1874) (predecessor college)
1906; 118 years ago (1906) (current institution)[1]
Academic affiliations
Endowment$78.8 million (2022)[2]
PresidentDavid McFaddin
ProvostSara 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)[3]
Undergraduates12,070 (spring 2022)[3]
Postgraduates2,395 (spring 2022)[3]
Location, ,
United States
ColorsMaroon and White[5]

Eastern Kentucky University (Eastern or EKU) is a public university in Richmond, Kentucky. It also maintains branch campuses in Corbin, Hazard, Lancaster, and Manchester and offers over 40 online undergraduate and graduate options.[6][7]



EKU's earliest predecessor institution, Central University, was founded in 1874 in Richmond, Kentucky. Beset with financial difficulties and small enrollment, Central consolidated with Centre College in 1901.

On March 21, 1906, the Governor signed legislation which established the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1.[8] On May 7, 1906, the Normal School Commission selected the site of the former Central University campus as the location of this new college; EKU remains at this location today.


In 1922, the Eastern Kentucky State Normal School No. 1 changed its name to Eastern Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College, and the transformed college awarded its first degrees under that name in 1925. In 1930, the college changed its name again, becoming the Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College. In 1948, the General Assembly shortened it to Eastern Kentucky State College. In 1966, it was officially renamed Eastern Kentucky University.[citation needed]

Campus revitalization

The years between 2012 and 2020 were marked by a building campaign that altered the campus layout and improved aesthetics. Funding for the multimillion-dollar project relied heavily on public-private partnerships (P3) under the leadership of then-President Michael T. Benson. The construction efforts 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:


Commonwealth Hall at Eastern Kentucky University in 2011

Accreditation and academic charge

The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[17] In 2010, the university awarded its first doctoral degree through its Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program.[1][18]

EKU serves its service region by offering adult degree completion options and online degree programs in addition to its traditional on-campus offerings.[7][19]

Rankings and outcomes

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

EKU was also ranked by the 2019 Forbes Magazine America's Top Colleges:[21]

According to 2022 data from College Scorecard, Eastern Kentucky University graduates earn a median salary of $42,000 ten years after their entry into the institution.[22] The median salaries of graduates vary across disciplines, with criminal justice majors earning around $33,000, biology $40,000, psychology $35,000, nursing $65,000, and Computer and Information Science $72,000.[23] 61% of EKU graduates earn higher than a typical high school graduate of the corresponding area.[22]

Honors program

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 1988.[26]


Main article: Eastern Kentucky Colonels

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 United Athletic Conference (UAC), with the conference having aspirations to go to the FBS level. 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.[27]



Main article: WEKU

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:

The Eastern Progress

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

List of presidents

No. President Term
1 Ruric Nevel Roark 1906–1909
2 Mary Creegan Roark 1909–1910
3 John G. Crabbe 1910–1916
4 Thomas J. Coates 1916–1928
- Homer Cooper (interim) 1928
5 Herman L. Donovan 1928–1941
6 William F. O'Donnell 1941–1960
7 Robert R. Martin 1960–1976
- Julius Cherry Powell (interim) 1975–1976
8 Julius Cherry Powell 1976–1984
9 Hanley Funderburk 1984–1998
10 Bob Kustra 1998–2001
- Eugene Hughes (interim) 2001
11 Joanne Glasser 2001–2007
- Charles D. Whitlock (interim) 2007–2008
12 Charles D. Whitlock 2008–2013
13 Michael T. Benson 2013–2019
14 David T. McFaddin 2020–present


Notable alumni

Main article: List of Eastern Kentucky University alumni


  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, 2022. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY21 to FY22 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. June 30, 2022. Retrieved June 20, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "College Navigator - Eastern Kentucky University".
  4. ^ "EKU Fact Book". Eastern Kentucky University Institutional Research. 2015.
  5. ^ EKU Visual Identity (PDF). EKU. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  6. ^ "EKU Regional Campuses". eku.edu. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved March 10, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Accredited Online Degree Programs from EKU – Earn Your Degree Online – Online Degree Programs – – Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu.
  8. ^ "About" Eastern Kentucky University
  9. ^ Barker, Ricki (August 18, 2017). "Eastern continues to expand its 'campus beautiful'". Richmond Register. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "New Residence Halls, Science Bldg. Phase 2 Open". EKU Builds. July 25, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  11. ^ "Renovations Begin For EKU Baseball & Softball Stadiums". Eastern Kentucky University Athletics.
  12. ^ "Construction Begins On Scholar House | EKU Stories | Eastern Kentucky University". stories.eku.edu.
  13. ^ "Gate Dream Come True For Turners | EKU Stories | Eastern Kentucky University". stories.eku.edu. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  14. ^ "Noel Reading Porch | EKU Libraries | Eastern Kentucky University". library.eku.edu. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  15. ^ Eads, Morgan (January 17, 2017). "EKU pedway reopens months after being damaged in crash". Lexington Herald Leader. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Benson, Michael (May 2014). "The President's Report: May 2014" (PDF). EKU. Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  17. ^ "Accreditation & Recognition". Eastern Kentucky University. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  18. ^ Eastern Kentucky University, EKU Undergraduate Catalog. 2007–2008. pg 6
  19. ^ "Finish Your Degree – Eastern Kentucky University". eku.edu.
  20. ^ "U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings". U.S. News. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  21. ^ "Eastern Kentucky University". Forbes. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "College Scorecard: Eastern Kentucky University". collegescorecard.ed.gov. Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  23. ^ "Data Home | College Scorecard". collegescorecard.ed.gov. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  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. ^ "EKU Athletics Site". EKU Sports. Retrieved July 18, 2023.
  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. ^ "A History of Leadership". President. Retrieved February 9, 2024.

Further reading

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