The Richmond Register

March 19, 2013

From normal school, to college and then university at Eastern

Many changes

By Fred Engle
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — Many changes have taken place over the years at Eastern. A new president will soon be installed and a new chapter started here in Richmond.

Change has always been a part of Eastern’s history. In 1922, the Normal School broke off from the college. It continued as a three-year institution until 1924, when it became a four-year school.

Over the years, the state’s provisional elementary certificate required more and more units of post-high school credits.

In 1930, normal schools were no longer the key to teacher training. In that year, Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College’s normal department became a standard secondary school.

In 1923, Eastern first offered a course at senior-college level. In 1926, students were allowed to major in subjects other than education. Degrees in primary education, secondary education and vocational home economics were offered. You could also take classes leading to a superintendent’s certificate.

When I began at Eastern in 1947, only teaching degrees were offered. Then, before I graduated in 1951, non-teaching degrees could be awarded and the word “Teachers” was dropped from the school’s name. The new name was Eastern Kentucky State College.

In 1966, university status was given to Eastern, along with the other regional schools, and it became Eastern Kentucky University.

For the first time since it was established the word “State” was not in the school’s name.

I remember some local merchants jumped the gun and put out T-shirts that read EKSU, which was wrong. I wonder if any of these shirts still exist. If you have one, hold on to it.

PUBLICATION NOTE:  Readers are reminded that a compilation of some 60 Richmond Register articles from over the last 40 years by Dr. Grise and myselfare now available in the paperback book “Madison’s Heritage Rediscovered.”  Combined with relevant photographs selected from Eastern’s Archives by my granddaughter, Kathryn Engle, who edited the volume, this book is available for $19.99 plus tax. Autographed copies may be found at the Richmond tourism office (Irvinton) on Lancaster Avenue, ClearsightOptometry and Baldwin C.P.A.s on Main Street in Richmond.  Autographed copies are also available by calling Kathryn Engle at 859 893 0947 or 623 1150.  These books make excellent birthday presents for family or friends.  Keep in touch with out of town family and friends by sharing this gift of home.