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A Brief History

Lindsey Wilson College was founded in 1903 as Lindsey Wilson Training School by the Louisville Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  The school was named in memory of Lindsey Wilson, the deceased nephew and stepson of Mrs. Catherine Wilson of Louisville, Kentucky.  (Today, Lindsey Wilson continues its affiliation with the Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.) 

Mrs. Wilson contributed $6,000 toward the construction of one of the school's first buildings, which now serves as the L. R. McDonald Administration Building.  Funding also came from the citizens of Columbia and from Mrs. James Phillips of Lebanon, Ky., for whom Phillips Hall, a women's residence hall, is named.  Mrs. Kizzie Russell of Columbia also made substantial gifts.

In its early years, Lindsey Wilson educated grades 1 through 12.  Concentration was on "normal work" to prepare students to be teachers; many continued their education at Vanderbilt University.

In 1923, the school's curriculum was reorganized, and a college department offering a junior college degree was added. In 1934, Lindsey Wilson closed its academy, and the school became exclusively a junior college.  The College, however, maintained a Model Training School from 1933 through 1979. 

In 1951, the College was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and in 1985, the College's trustees voted to become a four-year liberal arts college.  Lindsey Wilson graduated its first baccalaureate class in May 1988.

The College added a master's degree in Counseling & Human Development in April 1993.  The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and it has been cited by CACREP as a model small-college graduate program.  Since then, graduate programs in education, business, and interactive design have been added along with a doctor of philosophy degree in Counselor Education & Supervision.

While historically the College's focus has been to serve the citizens of South Central Kentucky, Lindsey Wilson serves a diverse group of students.  In 2015-2016, the College enrolled more than 2,651 undergraduate and graduate students, including 1,100 residential students, with the student body representing 110 of Kentucky's 120 counties, 34 U.S. states and territories, and 36 foreign countries.  The College also has community campuses in the Kentucky cities of Ashland, Cumberland, Danville, Elizabethtown, Hazard, Henderson, Hopkinsville, Lexington, Liberty, London, Louisville, Madisonville, Maysville, Paducah, Prestonsburg, Radcliff, Scottsville, Shelbyville, and Somerset, with other community campuses in Virginia (Big Stone Gap, Richlands, and Wytheville), West Virginia (Logan), Tennessee (Gallatin), and Ohio (Cincinnati, Dayton, Hillsboro, and Washington Court House).


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