LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Simmons College of Kentucky is now the nation's 107th Historically Black College. Historically, the school has admitted students of all races and that will continue with this new status.

The walls and hallways of the historic college are lined with pictures of the men and women who helped organize the school more than a hundred years ago and these days, the halls are also filled with people like McCall. She is majoring in psychology and proud to be part of history.

"I'm really excited about that too," said Cheyenne McCall, Simmons Freshman. "For me to only be a freshman in college, this has definitely been a really exciting year."

Just in March of last year, Simmons received its accreditation -- before receiving its HBCU recognition this week.

"It was an amazing moment for the community; a simple phone call completely changed the aura around here," said Robert Harvey, COO Simmons College of Kentucky.

Harvey is also a professor of religion at Simmons. He said the school received word on Monday that it is now officially an HBCU.

"The biggest benefit of being a historically black college and university recognized by the department of education is the pride factor that we are going to bring back to the west Louisville community."

Pride and prestige once held by the school.

"If you look at all of the history books regarding blacks and higher education...Simmons was known as the Harvard of higher education. Even Booker T. Washington said that 'Simmons was the greatest beacon of light and hope for newly freed slaves' in 1865," Harvey said.

The school fell on hard times and nearly went bankrupt during the great depression, but under the leadership and vision of president Dr. Kevin Cosby the school has been restored to its original glory.

"We are proud to say that 10 years after he outlined that vision, we have met every objective that he has outlined with this Historically Black College being the fifth and final vision setting that he did 10 years ago," said Harvey.

Cheyenne McCall plans to eventually transfer to the University of Louisville, but said Simmons will always be home. "Whenever I do move up in my academic career I'll definitely be very proud to tell people that I was here when we received that status."

Representatives of HBCUs from across the country and local lawmakers will be at Simmons on Monday for the official announcement. 



Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.