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University of the Cumberlands

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Title: University of the Cumberlands  
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Subject: Mid-South Conference, James Crawford (basketball), Rick Stansbury, Cumberland University, Mid-Continent University
Collection: Baptist Christianity in Kentucky, Buildings and Structures in Whitley County, Kentucky, Council of Independent Colleges, Education in Whitley County, Kentucky, Educational Institutions Established in 1889, Liberal Arts Colleges, Liberal Arts Colleges in Kentucky, Mid-South Conference, Universities and Colleges Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Universities and Colleges Affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Universities and Colleges in Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands
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University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands
Motto Vita Abundantior
Motto in English
A Life More Abundant
Established 1889
Type Private
Affiliation Kentucky Baptist Convention
Endowment US$73,301,288[1]
Chancellor Dr. James H. Taylor
President Dr. Larry L. Cockrum
Undergraduates 1,743
Postgraduates 1,474
Location Williamsburg, Kentucky, USA
Campus Rural
Colors Red, Blue, and White             
Mascot Patriots (Indians until 2001)
Website University of the Cumberlands
For other institutions called "Cumberland College," see Cumberland College.

University of the Cumberlands is a private, liberal arts college located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, with an enrollment of approximately 3,200 students. The school, known as Cumberland College until January 7, 2005, is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, the Kentucky affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention.


  • History 1
  • Campus 2
    • Notable buildings 2.1
  • Academics 3
    • Undergraduate programs 3.1
    • Graduate programs 3.2
      • Recent graduate and professional programs timeline 3.2.1
  • Campus programs 4
  • Athletics 5
    • Men's sports 5.1
    • Women's sports 5.2
      • COED sports 5.2.1
    • Men's lacrosse 5.3
    • Women's lacrosse 5.4
  • Controversy 6
    • Jason Johnson 6.1
    • Soulforce 6.2
    • Robert Day 6.3
    • Pharmacy school 6.4
    • Broadway Baptist Church youth group 6.5
  • Notable alumni 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


University of the Cumberlands, first called Williamsburg Institute, was founded on January 7, 1889. At the 1887 annual meeting of the Mount Zion Association, representatives from 18 eastern Kentucky Baptist churches discussed plans to provide higher education in the Kentucky mountains. The college was incorporated by the Kentucky state legislature on April 6, 1888. In 1907 the school bought the three buildings of Highland College, and in 1913, Williamsburg Institute's name was changed to Cumberland College. The name reflected the institution's location along the Cumberland River and its proximity to Cumberland Falls and the Cumberland Gap. From its inception, the institution has been affiliated with the Baptist Church, and its mission has been to educate and prepare leaders for service to the greater community.

Although founded as a senior college, in 1918 Cumberland College officially became a junior college. The College received its first accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 1931. In 1956 the Board of Trustees began bringing the College back to senior college status. The junior year was added in 1959-60 and the senior year in 1960-61. SACS granted initial accreditation to the institution as a senior college in December 1964. Since then, SACS has reaffirmed the College's accreditation in 1974, 1985, 1995, and 2006. It is next scheduled for reaffirmation in 2016.

Cumberland College received authority to award its first graduate degree, the Master of Arts in Education (MAED) on April 6, 1988. Graduate education has since become an integral part of the institution. In 2005, the institution received authorization from SACS to offer the Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT). This action was followed in 2006 with permission from the SACS Commission on Colleges to offer both the MAED and MAT degrees fully online. More recently in 2008, the Commission also authorized the granting of the MBA degree, the Ed.S. degree, as well as the institution's first doctoral degree, an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. Master's programs in Professional Counseling and in Physician Assistant Studies were approved by SACS in 2009, and the Master of Arts in Christian Studies in 2010.

On July 1, 2005, after action by the Board of Trustees, Cumberland College became the University of the Cumberlands. The University is authorized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to operate as a nonprofit corporation with perpetual duration and is licensed by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) to grant the degrees currently offered through July 2017. The institution is also recognized by the Commission on Colleges of SACS as a Level V institution and thus accredited to offer up to three doctoral programs. Currently it offers three doctoral degrees: Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Ed.D. in Counselor Education, and Ph.D. in Psychology. Originally as Williamsburg Institution, then as Cumberland College, and now as University of the Cumberlands, the institution continues to provide quality education in a Christian environment, producing graduates who will serve and become leaders in their communities.

Ten presidents have led the college including William James Johnson; E. E. Wood; John Newton Prestridge; Gorman Jones, acting president; A. R. Evans, acting president; Charles William Elsey; James Lloyd Creech; J. M. Boswell; James H. Taylor and Larry L. Cockrum.

On October 3, 2014, university President Dr. James Taylor announced that then-Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Larry Cockrum would take over day-to-day operations of the university after the board of trustees meeting on October 15, 2014. Taylor also announced his retirement as president effective October 15, 2015 with the recommendation that Cockrum be named university president effective October 16, 2015. On that date, Taylor would assume the honorary title of university chancellor.[2] The board of trustees officially approved the succession plan on October 15, 2014 giving Cockrum a seven-year contract and the title of Chief Executive Officer & President-Elect.[3] The board of trustees, in a unanimous vote, officially named Cockrum university president on October 15, 2015. [4]

Notable alumni include two governors, five military generals, and five college and university presidents.


University of the Cumberlands marker off of Main Street, in Williamsburg, Kentucky

University of the Cumberlands's campus is in the southeastern part of Kentucky, just off Interstate 75, 190 miles (310 km) south of Cincinnati, Ohio, and 70 miles (110 km)

Notable buildings

  • Roburn Hall: The first building on the campus, Roburn Hall has been used as a classroom building and a women's and men's residence hall. It is now a women's residence hall.
  • Gillespie Hall: Originally called Johnson Hall, the women's residence was the second building built by Williamsburg Institute.
  • Mahan Hall: Built in 1907 as Felix Hall, Mahan was the first men's residence.
  • Clyde V. and Patricia Bennett Building: Formerly known as the Gray Brick Building, the Bennett Building was built in 1906 by Highland College. Highland and Cumberland merged in 1907.
  • Ruby Gatliff Archer President's Home: Built in 1905 as a replica of the "Kentucky Home" at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. It is the residence of the president of the university, Dr. James H. Taylor.
  • Edward L. Hutton School of Business: Built in 2004 as a replica of Independence Hall.
  • Cumberland Inn and Conference Center: Hotel and conference center run by the school. Primarily employs UC students.
    • Patriot Steakhouse, formerly the Athenaeum Restaurant: Highly rated restaurant inside the Cumberland Inn. Reviewed in Eating Your Way Across Kentucky: 101 Must Places To Eat (2006).
    • The Cumberland Inn Museum is operated by the school, located in the Cumberland Inn. It includes the Henkelmann Life Science Collection, the Carl Williams Cross Museum (one of the world's largest collections of crosses) and the University of the Cumberlands Archives.
  • Ward and Regina Correll Science Complex: In May 2007, $1 million expansion of the Science Complex was started. The new addition is a replica of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello mansion. Classes began in the Correll Science Complex in January 2009.[5]
  • Lenora Fuson Harth Hall: New women's residence in the former location of Boswell Park, adjacent to Gillespie Hall. Construction began in August 2007. The hall opened in spring 2009.[6]

Plans are also underway for an addition to the Boswell Campus Center and remodeling the current structure. These plans include a student recreation center complete with a rock wall, along with adding a thatched roof in order to blend in with the other buildings on campus. Phase 1 began in May, 2010.


The university is divided into four colleges: Cumberland College (the university's undergraduate school), the Hutton School of Business/Management, the Hutton Center for Leadership Studies, and the Graduate/Professional Education program.

University of the Cumberlands is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees.

Undergraduate programs

Cumberlands offers approximately 45 major programs of study, as well as a variety of minor programs. UC recently began offering majors in Journalism and Public Relations, Criminal Justice, and Spanish.[7]

Cumberlands offers 12 academic national honor societies for students in several majors.[8]

Graduate programs

The university offers several master's degrees in Education (MAEd), Psychology (MAPC), Business Administration (MBA), Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA), and Christian Studies (MACS), as well as an Educational Specialist program and Doctoral programs in Education (Ed.D.) and Philosophy (Ph.D.).[9]

The Doctor of Education program in Educational Leadership is designed for those looking to enter the collegiate world as professors and administrators of institutions of higher education. The Doctor of Philosophy program in Leadership is generally seen as more theory and research intensive than a practitioner's degree such as an Ed.D. Student pursuing the Ph.D. in Leadership must complete the curriculum established for the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership plus six additional hours in theories/concepts and statistics/research methods. Both tracks are intended to prepare candidates for academic administration and focus on aspects and issues in education leadership.

Recent graduate and professional programs timeline

In August 2008, the university began offering a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Education Specialist (Ed.S.) in education leadership and higher education administration, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduate degree.

In January 2009, the university announced that it had been approved by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to begin a Master of Arts in Professional Counseling. The degree requires 60 credit hours, completed in a cohort, 8-week, bi-term model. Upon completion of the MAPC and passing of the national exam, the student will be qualified to become a licensed professional counselor (LPC). UC has since announced the program has been divided into two tracks, with one as an advanced, accelerated track for those with clinical psychology experience.[10]

Cumberlands began a master's degree program in School Counseling in the summer of 2009.[11]

In the spring semester of 2010, University of the Cumberlands began their Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program with their first cohort of physician assistant students.[12]

In March 2010, UC received accreditation for a Master of Arts in Christian Studies, to be offered within the Department of Religion. The program is 30 credit hours and is offered with three areas of concentration in Biblical Studies, Christian Education and Church Planting. The program will be delivered in an online format and was expected to begin in the fall of 2010.[13]

Cumberlands is planning a Doctor of Physical Therapy program to begin in the very near future.

Campus programs

The Robert L. Palmer Memorial Lecture Series brings a writer of national reputation to the campus annually. The series, established in 1992, has hosted novelists, essayists, and poets including Lee Smith, Jim Wayne Miller, Willie Morris, Scott Sanders, Billy Collins, and Catherine Landis. Additionally, the Thomas S. Staley Distinguished Christian Scholar Lecture Series features religious scholars.

The university has in recent years, through its United States senator. The April 2008 program featured bestselling author Stephen Covey in a "Principle Centered Leadership" program, while the April 2009 program featured Ben Stein in a "21st Century Leadership" program.

On April 6, 2010, University of the Cumberlands was set to have former Bush advisor Karl Rove for the Patriotic Leadership Program. Mike Huckabee was the speaker for the April 2011 program along with singer Lee Greenwood.


The University of the Cumberlands (UC) teams are known as the Patriots, after switching from their original mascot the Indians. The university is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Mid-South Conference.

Men's sports

Archery, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, and Wrestling.

Women's sports

Archery, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Golf, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field, Volleyball, and Wrestling.

COED sports

Cheerleading, Dance.[14]

Men's lacrosse

In 2016, the Patriots will begin their inaugural lacrosse season as members of the NAIA. Also, the start of the 2016 season will be the first year NAIA sponsors lacrosse. The Patriots's Head Coach is Pete Campbell and the graduate Assistance Coach is Sam Kennedy.[15]

The Patriots's home field was recently built and called UC Lacrosse Complex.[16]

Coach Campbell has recruited 27 players for their first season. The freshmen players were recruited from a wide variety across the United States ranging from Corona, California to Harrisburg, Kentucky.[17]

Campbell is from a variety of lacrosse backgrounds, ranging from his hometown in Hilliard, OH to Baltimore, MD.[18] Kennedy attended Wesley College in Dover, Delaware and in 2014 Kennedy was named Capital Athletics Conference (CAC) Player of the Week.[19]

The Patriot's season officially starts February 6, 2016 in Indianapolis, IN against University of Indianapolis.[20] The men's team has 14 games lined up for their inaugural season.

Women's lacrosse

2016 starts of the Patriots's women's lacrosse team. The Head Coach is Kelly Buikus, who originates from West Hartford, Connecticut.[21]

The women's inaugural season kicks off at home on February 16, 2016 against Montreat College.[22] The team has 15 games lined up.

Approximately 65% of its 1,864 undergraduate students come from Kentucky, but members of its Spring 2014 entering class also hailed from more than 37 states and 15 countries. The University's faculty and curricula are equally broad-based. The growing range of its undergraduate and graduate programs – education, professional counseling, business, physician assistant studies, and Christian studies – also reflects the University's critical and creative thinking as it prepares students for lives of service and leadership. In all of these endeavors, the university continues its pursuit of excellence and vita abundantior.

The university also has a low-power radio station, WCCR-LP, a campus newspaper, The Patriot, and a local cable television station, UCTV channel 19.

In addition to the physical activities, the university has a forensics (debate) team and an academic team. The debate team is nationally known having won the Christian National Debate competition (Novice Division).

For students interested in music, the university has several vocal and instrumental ensembles.

UC offers a degree in theatre and communication arts. The university has typically two productions a year, one play (commonly in the spring, though reversed for the 2008 semesters) and one musical (currently in the spring, previously in the fall). The Kohn Theatre is not restricted to the theatre department and is used by other theatrical groups in the area and by the school. UC has two professors of theatre: technical director Carl Walling (as of fall 2010) and stage director Dr. Kim Miller (as of fall 2008).

The university has other extracurricular student activities, including Campus Activity Board (CAB), chapters of College Republicans and College Democrats, Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Residence Hall Councils, Student Government Association, Baptist Campus Ministries, and many other clubs and organizations.

UC has 12 chapters of national honor societies in fields such as Biology (Beta Beta Beta), First Year Students (Alpha Lambda Delta) Theology and Religion (Theta Alpha Kappa), Business (Sigma Beta Delta and Phi Beta Lambda), and other academic fields.

University of the Cumberlands provides opportunities for campus ministry through Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM), Appalachian Ministries, Mountain Outreach, and Campus Family and Life groups.

The university commits itself to and recognizes the value of community service through its Hutton Center for Leadership Studies. 100% of undergraduate students participate in community service before they graduate, developing a 40-hour community service project through their "Lead 101" class. UC provides recognition for those students willing to go the extra mile in service. Those who accumulate 200 or more hours of community service during their time at UC are designated "Hutton Scholars" and presented with certificates. Such students are recognized at their commencement ceremonies and are provided the privilege of requesting a "leadership transcript" from the university when applying for career positions and graduate schools. Many campus organizations provide opportunities for community service, including Student Government Association, the Academic Resource Center (ARC), Campus Activity Board, The Patriot Campus newspaper, and Resident Assistant positions.

Since the college is in Williamsburg, it is 18 miles (29 km) away Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The park is the home of Cumberland Falls, sometimes called the Little Niagara, the Niagara of the South or the Great Falls and is the only venue in the Western Hemisphere where a moonbow or lunar rainbow is regularly visible on a clear night with a full moon. Because of how close the falls are, many students go there to hike in the surrounding area and to see the moonbow.


Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson of Lexington, Kentucky was forced to withdraw from the university on April 8, 2006, after he revealing that he is gay on the social networking site University president, Dr. James H. Taylor said in a written statement, "At University of the Cumberlands, we hold students to a higher standard than does society in general...University of the Cumberlands isn't for everyone. We tell prospective students about our high standards before they come." The student handbook, as revised in 2005, states that students can be removed from campus for participating in pre-marital sex or promoting homosexuality — a policy which Johnson's attorney alleged was added after Johnson decided to go to school at UC.[23]

The legality of such a policy is doubtful as the university receives funds from the Kentucky state government. According to the Supreme Court ruling in Bob Jones University v. United States, any university receiving public monies may not discriminate, so any court challenge will likely center on this.[24] In Judge Crittenden's decision denying public funding to UC's pharmacy school, he declined to decide this question, stating that the proposed spending violated portions of the Kentucky Constitution that guarantee religious freedom and that public money for education should not be spent on any "church, sectarian or denominational school."[25]

On April 19, 2006, Johnson's attorney and the university reached a settlement allowing Johnson to complete his coursework for the semester and restoring his previous grades rather than downgrading them to failing. The university agreed to not report to other universities that Johnson was expelled. In addition, Johnson waived his right to sue the university, although he retained his right to file a grievance with the Department of Education or the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools.[26]


On March 28, 2007, the pro-Soulforce brought its 2007 Equality Ride to Cumberlands' campus.[27] According to the group's website, "through dialogue with administrators, faculty and students, the young activists of the 2007 Equality Ride will make clear the harmful effects of the false notion that homosexuality is a 'sickness and a sin.' To make public their case for equality, the young activists on the Equality Ride will hold vigils, Bible studies, class discussions, community forums, and press conferences."[28]

According to the university, an offer was extended to the group to be located in the middle level of the Boswell Campus Center, but Soulforce rejected those terms. However, according to Soulforce, an offer from the university was quickly withdrawn because of a miscommunication and the university later refused to agree to terms in writing.[29]

Two University of the Cumberlands students were arrested on a charge of failure to disperse, along with a member of the Soulforce group, for trespassing and failure to disperse when they stopped on the sidewalk of Main Street, which runs through the campus.[30]

Robert Day

In 2003, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) found that President Taylor coerced Professor Robert Day into resigning because he had opposed Taylor's proposed staff layoffs on an off-campus website.[31][32] The AAUP concluded that "The policies of Cumberland College, including the grievance procedure, do not provide for faculty hearings of any kind. College policies and practices preclude any effective faculty role in academic governance and contribute to an atmosphere that stifles the freedom of faculty to question and criticize administrative decisions and actions." The AAUP noted that current and former faculty members "do not feel free to address topics of college concern in any forum" and "described a climate of fear about what faculty members may say and do, a fear based on what they know or have been told has happened to others." Those interviewed "expressed a particular fear that criticizing the administration and its operation of the college could place a faculty member's appointment in jeopardy."[33]

Pharmacy school

The Kentucky state budget, passed by the 2006 Kentucky legislature, includes $10 million of state debt to construct a pharmacy building on the school's Whitley County campus. Additionally, $1 million for scholarships for the pharmacy program are included. The $10 million building is to be funded out of a $100 million pool of money titled the "infrastructure for economic development fund for coal-producing counties." Money to repay the bond issuance would come from coal severance taxes. The Kentucky Fairness Alliance asked Governor Ernie Fletcher to veto the $11 million that state lawmakers approved for a planned pharmacy school.[34] A gay Kentucky State Senator, Ernesto Scorsone, has indicated that he would oppose spending the funds already allocated for a new pharmacy school for the university based on the Johnson situation, stating "We should not be budgeting bigotry." "If the University of the Cumberlands does not change its policies and practices, we will have a state benefit that is only available to heterosexuals," Scorsone said.[35] An additional complication is that the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, the accrediting agency for all American pharmacy schools, explicitly prohibits discrimination against gays. Its guideline states that approved schools must have a policy on student affairs, including admissions and progression, that assures non-discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, lifestyle, national origin, or disability. As of July 1, 2007, this will be revised to include the phrase "sexual orientation."

Broadway Baptist Church youth group

In June, 2009, the University of the Cumberlands rescinded its invitation to a youth group from Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, to help build homes for the poor, stating they did so because the church had been removed from the Southern Baptist Convention.[36][37] This action was condemned by Kentucky Equality Federation because the church pastor stated officials told him it was because of their tolerance of homosexuality.[38]

Notable alumni


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  4. ^ Dr. Larry Cockrum Confirmed as President
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External links

  • University of the Cumberlands official website
  • University of the Cumberlands official athletics website

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