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> Simmons College of Kentucky
Simmons College of Kentucky
1811 Dumesnil Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40210
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Since Simmons was founded in 1879 by the State Convention of Colored Baptist Churches in Kentucky, the school has consistently provided its students with an affordable, quality education.
The relatively small student body permits a more personal learning environment with close interaction between faculty, students and academic advisors. Furthermore, the school’s enriched curriculum is designed to prepare students with the skills, knowledge and values essential for contemporary ministry needs and life’s realistic challenges.
The Simmons College of Kentucky experience is enhanced by its experienced faculty members who successfully guide students through the school’s degree and certificate programs. And for years, non-traditional students have benefited from the day, evening, and weekend course offerings.
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In August of 1865, 12 Black Baptist Churches met at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Louisville, KY and organized the state Convention of Colored Baptist Churches in Kentucky.
Because there was no place in the state where Blacks could obtain a college education, members of the Convention soon began discussing the need to create a school for the training of Negroes – many of whom were one generation removed from slavery.
Having first given consideration to Frankfort, KY as the home to the school, members of the Convention instead decided in 1869 to locate what would be known as the Kentucky Normal Theological Institute in Louisville, KY.
It was not until 10 years later in 1879, however, that any definite steps were taken for the opening of the school. In November of that year the trustees of the Convention of Colored Baptist Church in Kentucky purchased 4 acres of land on the corner of 7th & Kentucky Street in Louisville that immediately served as the campus for the school.
That same year, the school opened its doors under the direction of its first President Rev. Elijah P. Marrs. After a brief one-year tenure, Rev. Marrs was succeeded by Dr. W.J. Simmons.
It was under the leadership of Dr. Simmons that the school would begin to flourish in such a way that it would eventually be renamed Simmons University in appreciation for his contributions.
During his 10-year tenure, which stretched form 1880 – 1890, the school became a full university and expanded its offerings to include liberal arts, college preparatory courses and medical, law, business, music, and theological departments. Additionally, the school was the home to competitive football, basketball, and baseball teams.
Simmons University continued to grow and prosper until the effects of the Great Depression found its way to the school. In 1930, the campus was forced to sell its property due to a foreclosure on the mortgage. As a result, the school significantly scaled back its offerings.
By 1935 a new location was secured at 1811 Dumesnil Street in west Louisville that allowed the school to continue with a more narrowed mission to simply educate young men and women for Christian service. Eventually in 1982 the school was renamed Simmons Bible College to more adequately reflect its mission.
Today, under the leadership of its 13th President Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, Simmons College of Kentucky continues in its mission to prepare Christians for ministry, while reinstating its initial mission of general education. With a curriculum designed to promote healthy ministries, the school is poised to become the nation’s leading authority on matters regarding church growth in the urban community.
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