Midway University
Midway University logo.jpg
MottoAma Vicinum Acte
TypePrivate university
Established1847; 175 years ago (1847)
Religious affiliation
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Endowment$22.7 million (2020)[1]
PresidentJohn P. Marsden
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States

Midway University is a private Christian 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 2017 when it began admitting male undergraduate students.


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.[3]

The co-founders of the school were Dr. L.L. (Lewis Letig) Pinkerton (1812–1875),[4] minister of the Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1844 to 1860,[5] 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.[6] 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."[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] In the Fall semester of 2016, Midway University admitted men to its day program for the first time.


Marrs Hall

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.[10]

Academic buildings

Historic Pinkerton Hall
Historic Pinkerton Hall

Residential buildings


The Midway athletic teams are called the Eagles. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the River States Conference (RSC; formerly known as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) until after the 2015–16 school year) for most of its sports since the 1991–92 academic year; while its men's & women's bowling, men's & women's swimming, men's volleyball and men's wrestling teams compete in the Mid-South Conference (MSC). Formerly a women's institution, men's sports were added into the Eagles' athletic program since the 2016–17 academic year.

Midway competes in 28 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross coutry, golf, soccer, sprint football, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball and wrestling;[11] while women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field and volleyball.[12] and co-ed sports include archery, cheer, dance, eSports, and equestrian (hunt seat, western and Dressage).

Sprint football

The next sport to be added is sprint football, a weight-restricted form of American football not governed by the NAIA or the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Midway will start play in 2022 as one of six charter members of the Midwest Sprint Football League.[13]

Notable faculty


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c As of fall 2018. "Fourth Year of Record Undergraduate Enrollment Announced". Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  3. ^ Peterson, Lucy. Miss Lucy's Story, As She Saw It. Midway, Kentucky: Midway College, 1960.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "A Brief History of Midway Christian Church, 1844-1998" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 20, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. ^ Balmer, Alberta Luanna. "A Study of the Kentucky Female Orphan School", Masters thesis, University of Kentucky, 1942.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Millennial Harbinger, Vol. V, No. XI, p. 712.
  9. ^ "Midway College Makes the Transformation into Midway University". Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  10. ^ National Register of Historic Places:Woodford County, KY Retrieved on 2010-2-10
  11. ^ "Additional Athletic Programs Announced for 2019-20". Midway University. 2018-10-12. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  12. ^ Midway College-Quick Facts Retrieved on 2010-2-10
  13. ^ "New Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Forms for Sprint Football" (Press release). Midwest Sprint Football League. June 21, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.

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