Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University is a public university…
Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University is a public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, though its roots reach back a quarter-century earlier. It operates regional campuses in Glasgow, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, and Owensboro.
The main campus, which has been undergoing expansion and renovation since the 1990s, sits atop a hill overlooking the Barren River valley.
The roots of Western Kentucky University go back to 1876 with the founding by A. W. Mell of the privately owned Glasgow Normal School and Business College in Glasgow, Kentucky. This moved to Bowling Green in 1884 and became the Southern Normal School and Business College. In 1890, Potter College was opened as a private women's college by Pleasant J. Potter. In 1906, Henry Hardin Cherry sold the Southern Normal School and became president of the Western Kentucky State Normal School, which had just been created by an act of the Kentucky General Assembly. Southern's student body and its building became the new school, with classes beginning on January 22, 1907. In 1909 Potter College closed and Western bought the buildings and property of the school. In 1911, Western relocated to its present site on the property that had been Potter College.
In 1922, the school was authorized by the state to grant four-year degrees and was renamed "Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College". The first four-year degrees were awarded in 1924. In 1927, the school merged with Ogden College, which occupied an adjacent campus. The name changed again in 1930 to "Western Kentucky State Teachers College". The school was authorized to offer the Master of Arts degree in 1931. Another name change took place in 1948 when the school became simply "Western Kentucky State College".
WKSC merged with the Bowling Green College of Commerce, which had formerly been the Bowling Green Business University, in 1963. Bowling Green Business University had originally been a part of the Southern Normal School and had been sold off by Henry Hardin Cherry when Southern Normal School was transferred to the state. The structure of the institution changed at this time, dividing into separate colleges. Bowling Green College of Commerce maintained its identity in this way. The Graduate School also became a constituent college. In 1965, three additional colleges were created. In 1966, Western Kentucky State College became Western Kentucky University.
For many years, the college was popularly known as "Western," as indicated in its fight song, "Stand Up and Cheer." However, administrators in recent years have preferred to call it "WKU."
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