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Transylvania University

Transylvania University is a private university in Lexington, Kentucky, United States. It was founded in 1780, making it the first university in Kentucky and among the oldest in the United States. It is related to the Christian Church


300 N Broadway

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Religious Affiliation
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Campus Housing
White Crimson
Heartland Collegiate

College History


Transylvania was the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains. Thomas Jefferson was governor of Virginia when the Virginia Assembly chartered Transylvania Seminary. He later looked to Transylvania as an educational model, writing to a friend in 1820 that "If�we Virginians are to go a begging anywhere for education, I would rather it should be to Kentucky than any other state, because she has more flavor of the old cask than any other." Transylvania University was initially sponsored by the Christ Episcopal Church's rector, the Reverend Moore, and later became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Originally in a log cabin in Boyle County, Kentucky, the school moved to Lexington in 1789. The first site in Lexington was a single building in what is now the historic Gratz Park. Henry Clay served as professor of law during the 1800s By 1818, a new main building was constructed for students' classes. Later, in 1829, that building burned, and the school was moved to its present location north of Third Street. Old Morrison, the only campus building at the time, was constructed 1830�34, under the supervision of Henry Clay, who both taught law and was a member of Transylvania's Board. After 1818, the university included a medical school, a law school, a divinity school, and a college of arts and sciences. The original seal of Transylvania University An institution that aided in the creation of Transylvania University at this time was Bacon College, named after Sir Francis Bacon, which would later be known as Kentucky University. Founded by the Christian churches in Kentucky, Bacon College operated from 1837�1851. It was distinct from Georgetown College, a Baptist-supported institution, but Bacon College closed due to lack of funding. Seven years later, in 1858, Bacon College's charter was amended to establish Kentucky University, and the facility was moved to donated land in Harrodsburg. Following the American Civil War, Kentucky University was devastated by fire, and both it and Transylvania University were in dire financial straits. In 1865, both institutions secured permission to merge. The new institution used Transylvania's campus in Lexington while perpetuating the Kentucky University name. The university was reorganized around several new colleges, including the Agricultural and Mechanical College (A&M) of Kentucky, publicly chartered as a department of Kentucky University as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act. However, due to questions regarding having a federally funded land-grant college controlled by a religious body, the A&M college was spun off in 1878 as an independent, state-run institution. The A&M of Kentucky soon developed into one of the state's flagship public universities, the University of Kentucky. Kentucky University's College of the Bible, which traced its roots to Bacon College's Department of Hebrew Literature, received a separate charter in 1878. Transylvania's seminary eventually became a separate institution, but remained housed on the Kentucky University campus until 1950 It later changed its name to the Lexington Theological Seminary. In 1903, Hamilton College, a Lexington-based women's college founded in 1869, merged into Kentucky University. Due to confusion between Kentucky University and its daughter institution, the University of Kentucky, the institution was renamed "Transylvania University," in 1908. In 1988, Transylvania University experienced an infringement on the institution's trademark when Hallmark Cards began selling Transylvania University T-shirts. The product, developed for the 1988 Halloween season, was intended to be a novelty item purporting to be college wear from the fictional Count Dracula's alma mater. When contacted by Transylvania University, Hallmark admitted that they were not aware of the Kentucky-based institution and recalled all unsold product immediately. Transylvania University is now affiliated with the Disciples of Christ (which organized after the university was first founded

College Specialty


Career Development engages current and former students by helping them seamlessly translate their liberal arts experience into a fulfilling vocation. By educating our students, we endeavor to move them toward high levels of personal responsibility and self-efficacy, which can sustain them throughout the course of their professional lives. As facilitators of career development, our goals are to: Provide methods to assist students in acquiring self-knowledge and to help them integrate this knowledge into their major and career decision-making process. Teach skills relevant to the career and graduate school search and application process so that students are able to effectively articulate their knowledge and abilities to others. Engage students in experiential education, so that they may connect their studies to professional opportunities that together will affirm vocational aspirations and allow them to gain skills relevant to those pursuits. Connect students to people in the professional world so that they may pursue opportunities for meaningful employment or additional education. Be leaders to the campus community on issues and information related to the world of work and serve as a clearinghouse for the acquisition and distribution of this information.



James Lane Allen, author Landaff Andrews David Rice Atchison, former U.S. Senator from Missouri Stephen F. Austin, founder of Texas, graduated in 1810 Cy Barger, major league baseball player Eugene C. Barker, historian; wrote The Life of Stephen F. Austin (1925); received LL.D. from Transylvania in 1940 William T. Barry Ned Beatty, actor James G. Birney Francis Preston Blair Francis Preston Blair, Jr. Levi Boone John C. Breckinridge, Vice President, United States; Secretary of War, Confederate States of America B. Gratz Brown William Orlando Butler Karen K. Caldwell, Chief United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky Alexander Campbell, Senator from Ohio Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler, Sr. Major League Baseball commissioner, Governor of Kentucky, and Senator from Kentucky Cassius Marcellus Clay, abolitionist David Grant Colson Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America; transferred to West Point Edward A. Eckenhoff, President and CEO National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC Malcolm D. Graham, US Congressman, CSA Congressman, Texas State Senate, Texas Attorney General, Colonel in Confederate States Army William M. Gwin, U.S. Senator John Marshall Harlan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, graduated in 1853, and was first justice to have earned a modern law degree Teresa Isaac, mayor of Lexington, Kentucky 2002�2006 Richard Mentor Johnson, Vice President of the United States Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate General Matthew Harris Jouett, painter known for portraits of figures including Thomas Jefferson Beriah Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky Trey Kramer, Professional soccer and football player Stevens Thomson Mason (1811�1843), Governor of Michigan 1835�1840 John Calvin McCoy, founder of Kansas City, Missouri Samuel Freeman Miller, Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court; graduated with medical degree in 1838 Daniel Mongiardo, Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky Brian Poe, CEO of EAS Technologies Charles Lynn Pyatt, dean, Lexington Theological Seminary James S. Rollins, Missouri politician, "Father of the University of Missouri" Clyde Roper, zoologist Lee Rose, basketball coach Wilson Shannon George Shannon, member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition James Speed Robert Wilson, Professor of Old Testament at Yale University Thomas James Churchill, Confederate major general during the American Civil War and the 13th Governor of the state of Arkansas Derek Wilkerson