Top Small Colleges and Universities across Kentucky
Union College: Offering a One-to-One Commitment
Considered a Southern state, Kentucky is frequently called the ‘Bluegrass State’ because of the native bluegrass found throughout the lands. With fertile pastures, extensive environmental resources, and miles of waterways and streams, Kentucky offers residents lots to do outdoors. It also exudes a Southern culture that has been influenced by the Appalachian region and the Midwest, and is the birthplace of bluegrass music. When it comes to higher education, the state has both public and private institutions granting four- and two-year degrees in addition to advanced programs. Many of them have been in existence for well over a century, educating people specifically for local industries and agriculture. Liberal arts education is also going strong, with twenty institutions forming part of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities.
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Union College was founded in Barbourville in 1879 and continues to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Over 1200 students come from nearly two dozen states and various countries, attracted by Union College’s offerings in humanities, social sciences, applied sciences, and natural sciences. Students are assisted by career counselors and academic advisors throughout their course of study in accordance with Union College’s motto that education is ‘One-to-One.’ The departments that offer a range of majors and minors include Business, Natural Sciences, English & Communication, Educational Studies, History, Psychology, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Wellness. As part of the Kentucky Institute for International Studies, Union College offers its students summer study abroad programs in different sites including Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Ecuador, Mexico, and France.
The first Baptist institution of higher education established west of the Allegheny Mountains, Georgetown College was chartered in 1829. With just over 1,300 undergraduate students, this liberal arts college offers students a 13:1 student to professor ratio and an average class size of 19. Four fraternities and four sororities form the center of campus life along with the President’s House Association that exists as an alternative to them. With around three-quarters of students completing their program within four years, the graduation rate is significantly higher than that at other institutions across the state and nationally. Academic departments offer more than 70 majors and minors, including English, Education, Chemistry, Art, Biology, Business, Communication & Media Studies, History, Sociology, Political Science, Math, Music, Theatre, Philosophy, and Health Studies.
Established a century and a half ago by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Kentucky Wesleyan College is currently located on a 55 acre campus in Owensboro, where it moved in 1951. Located on the Ohio River, Owensboro is just 4 hours from St. Louis and 2 hours north of Nashville. In 2009, Kentucky Wesleyan College had 862 students representing 23 different states and 8 countries. Over 88 percent of faculty holds PhDs or terminal degrees and students enjoy a 15:1 student to faculty ratio. Academics include three departments in Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, with students selecting from over 36 choices for their majors. Over 40 organizations, 2 sororities, and 3 fraternities along with student publications make for an active social life. Kentucky Wesleyan College’s motto, ‘It’s About Success,’ emphasizes the focus on preparing students to succeed following graduation.
A year after being chartered by the Kentucky Legislature in early 1819, Centre College opened its doors. Since then, Centre College has existed throughout multiple wars and many of its buildings were occupied by both sides of the conflict during the Civil War. A substantial expansion in resources in the 1960s doubled Centre College to its current size of 67 buildings on 115 acres of land. Located in Danville, with a population of 18,000, Centre College encourages students to explore the world and nearly 85 percent of them participate in study abroad programs at least one during their years at the college. Centre College even has its own programs in Strasbourg, France; London, England; and Merida, Mexico. Students select from dozens of majors and minors, and all of them are required to take humanities courses as part of their undergraduate liberal arts education. The Washington Post considers Centre to be ‘one of the premier intellectual gathering points in its region,’ given that it pushes its students to do well and many have gone on to receive awards including Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright.
While it is officially a nondenominational school, Ashbury University has a Wesleyan-Holiness tradition stretching back to its founding in 1890. A Christian liberal arts institution in Wilmore, Ashbury University enrolls just over 1,300 undergraduate students. More than 40 percent are from Kentucky, while other students come from more than 40 other states and 11 countries. There are over 49 majors offered to students within 14 different academic departments, which include Art, Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, English, History, Math, Business, and Communication Arts.
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