Simmons College offering unique scholarship opportunities - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Simmons College offering unique scholarship opportunities

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Simmons College is expanding its campus with a building on 4th Street in downtown Louisville, but leaders say it is more than an expansion.

"It's a sign of what's to come for the fastest growing college in Kentucky," said one school official. 

The college's new downtown building was previously owned by the Sons of the American Revolution and is now going to be Simmons' administrative office and library.
 
The expansion at Simmons College of Kentucky creates more opportunities for students who otherwise might not be in college.

Students attending Simmons include Keith Bowman, who was in prison just four months ago. "I was locked up for 10 years and knew I needed to come out and make a change and education was the way for me to change," he said.

Celia Jackson partied her way out of Kentucky State after just half a semester. "I just really thought about it. I'll be the first, between my mom and dad, the first with a degree," she said as tears well up in her eyes. 

Simmons prides itself on seconds chances because the college is standing on one of its own.

Steeped in history, Simmons College was built in the 1800s to educate Kentucky's freed slaves.

The college once boasted a law school, a nursing school, and several other programs in addition to its private Bible college roots. However, the historically Black college had fallen on hard times by 2005, losing its campus and nearing bankruptcy and closure.

Simmons' second chance came in February, when the school became the first HBCU to regain national accreditation, writing a new chapter in its 150 year history. 

Simmons is now a liberal arts college that also has a Christian-based ethical world view. Degree programs range from business entrepreneurship, to communications to sociology.

The accreditation brings with it a host of scholarship opportunities for more students like Bowman and Jackson. In fact, leaders say student enrollment will double this fall to more than 300 students on campus, making Simmons percentage wise the fastest growing college in the Commonwealth.
 
School officials say their scholarship opportunities are for students "who have been forgotten, are under researched, and are left behind." Students like Keith Bowman and Celia Jackson who may not have gotten all A and B's or the highest ACT's, but deserve a shot at a degree to start writing a new chapter in their own history.

"I want to own my own business," Jackson said. "We have to go through some bad as well as the good, but it all makes us who we are," Bowman said.

The dedication ceremony for the college's new administration building and library is set for Tuesday. The new school year begins August 25.

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