Midway University

Midway University
Motto Ama Vicinum Acte
Type Private Undergraduate Liberal Arts
Established 1847
Affiliation Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
President Dr. John P. Marsden
Administrative staff
Students 1194
Location Midway, Kentucky, USA
Campus Rural
Athletics NAIA
Mascot Eagles
Website www.midway.edu

Midway University is an independent, liberal arts university with approximately 1,800 students located in Midway, Kentucky. Related by covenant to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), it currently offers two and four-year degrees. Midway is the only women's college in Kentucky. The all-female Day College offers majors in four pillar programs: business, equine studies, nursing, and teacher education. In addition to the Day College, Midway University offers programs to adult men and women, through the evening and weekend School for Career Development (SCD), offered on the Midway Campus and in more than 18 sites across Kentucky, and also through Midway University ONLINE. Both SCD and ONLINE offer accelerated degree-completion programs for working adults in popular programs such as Organizational Administration and Leadership, Homeland Security Corporate Management and Assessment, and Teacher Education, among others.[1] In May 2016, Midway's Board of Trustees voted unanimously to begin admitting male undergraduates for the first time in the school's history in the fall 2017 semester.[2]

In August 2011, Midway delayed the launch of the new School of Pharmacy in the eastern Kentucky community of Paintsville. The school was supposed to enroll up to 80 students a year and intended to offer a fully accredited Pharm.D. degree. The School of Pharmacy was to occupy space at Big Sandy Community and Technical College while it seeks a site for its own campus.[3]

The mission of Midway University: "As Kentucky's only college for Women and as a forerunner in coeducational adult accelerated learning, Midway University empowers undergraduate and graduate students as leaders through a professionally-oriented liberal arts education."[4]


Midway University originally opened as the Kentucky Female Orphan School on October 3, 1849, with one teacher and sixteen female students. The nine members of the Board of Trustees oversaw the school's endowment, the building and five acres of land.[5]

The co-founders of the school were Dr. L.L. (Lewis Letig) Pinkerton (1812–1875),[6] minister of the Midway Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) from 1844–1860,[7] and Mr. James Ware Parrish, a Midway Christian Church elder. They obtained a charter on February 17, 1847, from the Kentucky legislature through the help of Kentucky Senator Major George W. Williams.[8] Before the school was permitted to open, an endowment of twenty-five thousand dollars had to be secured and investments made. This time was used for soliciting funds, purchasing land, construction of a building, and drafting and outline of government and management for the school. The outline was published in the Millennial Harbinger of November, 1848.

John Dawson was Superintendent and his wife, Mary, was Matron when the Kentucky Female Orphan School opened in 1849. Associate principal and assistant matron, Eliza Davies, wrote that in those early days the "house was not furnished; the girls slept on straw mattresses; the floors were uncarpeted."[9] There were fourteen Heads of the school in total:[7]

The Kentucky Female Orphan School girls' education was directed by four main points:

  1. The development and corroboration of the moral constitution.
  2. The improvement of the intellectual powers.
  3. The development of the physical powers.
  4. Such direction of all the capabilities and attainments of the pupils, as will afford them the best prospect of a livelihood, in the useful and honorable employment of their requirements.[10]

The early years of operation had four grades. They were compared to an intensive high school education which included all courses: Ray's Higher Arithmetic, two years of Algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, physics, botany, physiology, psychology, astronomy, physical geography, chemistry, geology, mineralogy, zoology, grammar, spelling, diacritical marks, rhetoric, American and English Literature, classics, U.S. History, English History, ancient, medieval, and modern history, Latin, and instrumental and vocal music. Sixteen credits were required to graduate, but according to the school president Miss Lucy Peterson, many students graduated with twenty-five credits.

The school served, at various times, as an elementary and high school, and eventually became a junior college and, then a fully accredited baccalaureate-granting institution as Midway College. As a career training provider, the Kentucky Female Orphan School identified the needs of the community, the resources in the area and the demand for higher education. The intention was to empower disadvantaged women with an education in the field of teaching. On July 1, 2015, the college changed its name to Midway University.[11]


The school is located on a 200-acre (0.81 km2) working farm in the heart of the Kentucky Bluegrass region. The campus overlooks Midway, a small town in central Kentucky. The National Park Service placed Pinkerton Hall, the oldest building on campus, on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1974.[12] Some historical photos of the Kentucky Female Orphan School are available on a Flickr photostream: Building Histories.

Academic buildings

Equine Education Center houses a 105-foot (32 m) x 235-foot (72 m) indoor riding arena, eight stalls, laboratory, classroom, a large tack room, audio-visual room, wash stall and faculty offices.

Keeneland Equine Education Center contains an indoor riding arena, 16 stalls, a tack room, washroom and office space.

Ashland Equine Barn contains 8 stalls, office space, and a washroom.

Marrs Hall, with a clock tower, houses the Arthur Young Lloyd Board Room, and the Offices of the President, the Vice President of College Relations and Development, and the Director of Public Relations. The admissions office for Midway UniversityONLINE and the University's Call Center are in the basement of Marrs.

Pinkerton Hall, the oldest building on campus, a two-story Greek revival building, was rebuilt in 1858 following a fire that destroyed the original structure. Pinkerton Hall contains the Offices of Admissions for SCD and the Day College, the Director of Financial Aid, the Business Office, and the Offices for Business Affairs.

Starks Hall was built in 1925 and served as a major classroom building for the campus. It was demolished and replaced with the Learning Resource Center, which sits atop its footprint.

The Learning Resource Center was built in 2010, and serves as the main classroom building on campus. The building also contains the offices of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Dean of the School for Career Development, the Dean of Online Programs, the Chair of the Business Division, and the Registrar. The Teacher Education division is housed on the second floor, along with classrooms and faculty offices. The basement houses the Equine Division's administrative offices, along with additional classrooms and faculty office space.

Anne Hart Raymond Center for Mathematics, Science & Technology opened in the fall 2003 semester. A 46,000-square-foot (4,300 m2) building with laboratories for biology, anatomy, microbiology/immunology, botany, physics, chemistry and physical/environmental science. Faculty members and upper-level students have access to dedicated laboratory space to pursue more advanced research projects. Additionally, the building has a 450-seat auditorium, classrooms, and faculty offices.

Residential buildings

Buster Hall houses 142 women in traditional-style rooms with community bathrooms on each floor. With washers and dryers on each floor (2).

Belle Wisdom Hall students live in suite-style rooms, sharing private bathrooms with 2–4 residents. Belle residents have a small community atmosphere, living in a building that houses a maximum of 81 women. Belle is the oldest dorm on the campus.


Midway University teams are known as the Eagles. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), competing in the River States Conference (RSC). Women's sports include archery, basketball, cross country, equestrian (hunt seat, western and Dressage), soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.[1]


Ring Shield

Night of Lights

A truly unique tradition, Night of Lights marks the end of the academic year with its special way of enabling friends to say farewell. Small candles are floated down the stream by the Path of Opportunity. Legend has it that if the candle stays aflame while passing beneath the bridge, one's wish will come true.

Pinkerton Bell

Originally used to signal wake-up, meals and classes, now, the bell sends out its glad tidings for any happy occasion.

Alma Mater (school song)

Here banded together, dear Old Alma Mater
Secure in our heritage by old girls bequeathed,
Led by their conquests and the future offered,
We trust to thy wise guidance, thy voice of wisdom heed,
We trust to thy wise guidance, our youth and its need.
Then forth from thy doors, dear Alma Mater send us,
All ready to honor thee wher'ere we may be,
Strong in self-knowledge, wise in understanding
We sing now to thy glory, our strength thy victory,
We sing now to thy glory, we offer to thee.

Original words by Lucy Peterson, 1906–1962, sung to the tune Adeste Fideles. Amended by Dr. Tracey Miller, 1990.

Notable faculty

See also


  1. 1 2 Midway College-Quick Facts Retrieved on 2010-2-10
  2. Blackford, Linda B. (May 16, 2016). "Midway University to accept men as undergrads". Lexington Herald-Leader.
  3. "Midway College Announces a School of Pharmacy in Paintsville, Kentucky" (Press release). Midway College. 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  4. Mission Statement Retrieved on 2010-2-10
  5. Peterson, Lucy. Miss Lucy's Story, As She Saw It. Midway, Kentucky: Midway College, 1960.
  6. "Dr. L. L. Pinkerton: An Early Change Agent". Christianity: Then and Now on-line. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  7. 1 2 "A Brief History of Midway Christian Church, 1844-1998" (PDF). Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  8. Balmer, Alberta Luanna. "A Study of the Kentucky Female Orphan School", Masters thesis, University of Kentucky, 1942.
  9. Davies, Eliza (1881). The Story of an Earnest Life: A Woman's Adventures in Australia, and in Two Voyages Around the World (Google eBook). Central Book Concern.
  10. Millennial Harbinger, Vol. V, No. XI, p. 712.
  11. "Midway College Makes the Transformation into Midway University". Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities. July 1, 2015. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  12. National Register of Historic Places:Woodford County, KY Retrieved on 2010-2-10

Coordinates: 38°08′46″N 84°40′44″W / 38.14611°N 84.67889°W / 38.14611; -84.67889

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