Simmons College of Kentucky has recently received official HBCU status. Historically, it has admitted students of all races and will continue to do so with this new status. Founded in 1879, Simmons is the state’s oldest African American college established by former slaves in order to train the children of fellow black Americans. The school is currently in applicant status for accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and also plans to apply to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Simmons College of Kentucky Profile

General Information

  • Location: 1018 S 7th St, Louisville, KY 40203, United States
  • Phone: +1 502-776-1443
  • Website:
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter
  • Type: Private, Co-educational College
  • Student population: approximately 200
  • Awards offered: Business Administration, Communications, General Studies, Religious Studies, Sociology
  • Accreditation: Simmons College of Kentucky is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE).
  • On April 13, 2015, the United States Department of Education designated Simmons College of Kentucky with the 107th historically black college and university (HBCU) status.


Simmons College offers three undergraduate degree programs leading upto Associate of Arts, bachelor of Arrts, and Bachelor of Theology Degrees.

Simmons College of Kentucky History

  • Few months after the Civil War in 1865, members of the Kentucky State Convention of Colored Baptist Churches proposed the establishment of Kentucky’s first post secondary educational institute for its “Colored” citizens.
  • The State Convention purchased 4 acres of land in 1879 in Louisville to serve as the campus for the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute.
  • In 1880, Dr. William Simmons became the second President and led the Institute through a period of rapid growth in enrollment and facilities. His tenure ended in 1990.
  • Simmons-College-old-school

  • During the period of 1893 to 1922, student enrollment increased from 159 to over 500.
  • To recognize Dr. Simmons’ leadership, the University was renamed Simmons University in 1918.
  • The effects of the Great Depression found its way to the school. Course offerings were substantially curtailed and many of the buildings were lost to foreclosure. In 1935 the University relocated to a smaller location in West Louisville.
  • Due to the continuous decline, change in operations was brought in 1950s. The university was renamed to Simmons Bible College and shifted focus to a limited set of theology courses.
  • In 2005, Dr. Kevin W. Cosby was elected as the 13th President of Simmons beginning a resurgence that continues today. Under his tenure, the University has reacquired its original campus, secured accreditation, and been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

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