Simmons College is preparing to offer the first graduate degree program in West Louisville
Simmons Pres. Kevin Cosby and Baptist Seminary of KY Pres. Greg Earwood
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky's oldest historically black college is making history again.
Simmons College is preparing to offer the first graduate degree program in west Louisville.
It was founded in 1879, and nearly went bankrupt during the Great Depression, but in recent years, Simmons College has steadily grown, gaining students, and winning accreditation in 2014.
Now Simmons is taking the next step, partnering with the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, based at Georgetown College, to offer graduate classes in theology.
“BSK is open to learning and dialogue on how they might develop a graduate-level theological education that empowers the African American Church,” Cosby told WDRB.
It’s an education that, Cosby says, mirrors the vision of Simmons founder, Dr. William Simmons, and the mission of the early black church.
“And that is overcoming oppression, addressing the evils of racism and white supremacy. That is what gave birth to the church, the black church,” said Cosby.
Interestingly, BSK, itself newly accredited, is predominately white. Its president is hoping the partnership results in a new racial dialogue.
“We need to learn more of what it's like to serve in a black church, what are the dynamics and how, then, out of that conversation, can we bring ourselves together for common goals,” said seminary President Greg Earwood.
Cosby believes that turning Simmons into an academic hub will help drive the economy in West Louisville.
The college has already purchased a former public housing complex at 16th and Kentucky streets to turn it into student housing.
“There's going to be the need for stores, there's going to be the need for businesses, there's going to be a need for hotels. And that can be the catalyst for economic development in west Louisville,” said Cosby.
Cosby hopes graduate classes can begin next fall, but more likely in the spring of 2017.