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Asbury College
Motto Academic Excellence and Spiritual Vitality
Established 1890
Type Private Christian Liberal Arts
Endowment US$34 million[1]
President Dr. Sandra Gray
Faculty 79
Students 1,516[2]
Postgraduates 65
Location Wilmore, Kentucky, United States
Campus Suburban
Athletics Baseball, Basketball (Men's & Women's), Cross Country (Men's & Women's), Soccer (Men's & Women's), Swimming & Diving, Softball, Tennis (Men's & Women's), Volleyball
Colors Purple and White
Mascot Eagle
Affiliations Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Christian College Consortium, Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
Hager Administration Building

Asbury College is a Christian liberal arts institution located in Wilmore, Kentucky. Although it is a nondenominational school, the college's foundation stems from a Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. The school offers 50 majors across 17 departments. Primarily a four-year, Asbury was ranked in the third tier of liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report in 2008.[3] Asbury College’s freshman retention rate is above 85 percent. Approximately 34 percent of incoming freshman are in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and more than 80 percent of current faculty are full-time.

The campus of Asbury Theological Seminary, which became a separate institution in 1940, is located across the street from Asbury College.

Asbury College is a member of the Christian College Consortium and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.



Asbury College was founded in 1890 by John Wesley Hughes in Wilmore, Kentucky. It was originally called the Kentucky Holiness College, but was later renamed after Bishop Francis Asbury, the "Father of American Methodism" and a circuit-riding evangelist. After being pushed out as President of Asbury College in 1905, Hughes went on to found another college, Kingswood College, in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. Kingswood College no longer exists. Despite his disappointment over being removed at Asbury, Hughes wrote in his 1923 autobiography: "Being sure I was led of God to establish (Asbury College), it being my college child born in poverty, mental perplexity, and soul agony, I loved it from its birth better than my own life. As the days have come and gone, with many sad and broken-hearted experiences, my love has increased. My appreciation of what it has done, what it is doing, and what it promises to do in the future, is such that I am willing to lay down my life for its perpetuation." In 1928, Hughes was invited to break ground for Asbury College's new chapel, Hughes Auditorium, which is still in use today.

Under great financial difficulty, Asbury College hired Dr. Henry Clay Morrison, a Methodist evangelist and editor of the Pentecostal Herald magazine, as its president in 1910. With the help of his Pentecostal Herald readers and his nationwide reputation as a great preacher (William Jennings Bryan regarded him the "greatest pulpit orator on the American continent"), Morrison was able to pay off large debts owed by the college and increase its reputation and student body. After stepping down as president in 1925, Morrison was asked once again to assume the presidency in 1933 under another financial crisis. He served his second term until 1940.

Succeeding Morrison as president of Asbury College was his Executive Vice President, Z.T. Johnson, the first alumnus of the college to serve as its president. The longest-tenured president in the school's history to date (1940-1966), Johnson's presidency at Asbury College was marked by growth, both of the student body and the campus physical plant. Campus improvements during his administration included an amphitheater, a 9-hole golf course, an athletic field with a quarter-mile track, a 370-acre farm, twenty-one duplexes, a triplex, an 18-unit apartment, eight faculty homes, five dormitories (including the Johnson Men's Dormitory), a student center, fine arts building, a library addition, a science hall, and the Z.T. Johnson Cafeteria. During his term as president, the student enrollment rose from 526 to 1,135. It was also under Johnson's administration that Asbury College moved to full racial integration in 1962.

On October 5, 2007, Dr. Sandra Gray was inaugurated as the seventeenth president of Asbury. She had previously served as Provost and as professor of business management at the school. Her inaugural challenge was given by Mitch McConnell, United States Senator from Kentucky and Minority Leader of the Senate. Gray was the first female president of the College.


Students come from 47 states and 10 countries. Nearly 90 percent of the College's students live on campus. Eighty-two percent of the school's faculty hold terminal degrees in their field of study. The College offers a masters degrees in education and alternative certification programs. Internships, exchange programs, missions, and community service opportunities are available and are part of the curriculum in nearly every major.[4]

Undergraduate majors include:

  • Accounting
  • Ancient Languages
  • Art
  • Art Grades P-12
  • Bible-Theology: Pre Ministry
  • Bible-Theology: Pre Seminary
  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Science Grades P-12
  • Biology
  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry Grades 8-12
  • Christian Ministries
  • Communications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Creative Writing
  • Elementary Education Grades P-5
  • Engineering Mathematics
  • English
  • English Grades 8-12
  • Equine Management
  • Exercise Science/Fitness Promotion
  • Financial Mathematics
  • French
  • French Grades P-12
  • Health and Physical Education Grades P-12
  • Health Science
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Latin Education Grades P-12
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics Grades 8-12
  • Media Communications
  • Middle School Education Grades 5-9
  • Missions
  • Music
  • Music Education Grades P-12
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Pre Physical/Occupational Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Psychology Grades 8-12
  • Recreation
  • Social Studies Grades 8-12
  • Social Work
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Spanish Grades P-12
  • Sports Management
  • Theatre and Cinema Performance
  • Vocal Performance
  • Worship Arts
  • Youth Ministry


Asbury College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Asbury College is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. The Asbury College Department of Education is accredited by the Kentucky Department of Education and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and all of its individual teacher education programs have state approval. The Asbury College Social Work Program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Notable alumni

More than 20,000 living alumni of the College surround the globe, leading and serving in all 50 states and at least 80 nations.[4]

Notable alumni include:

College Presidents

  • John Wesley Hughes (1890-1905)
  • Francis F. Fitch (1905)
  • Benjamin Franklin Haynes (1905-1908)
  • Newton Wray (1908-1909)
  • Aaron S. Watkins (1909-1910)
  • Henry Clay Morrison (1910-1925; 1933-1940)
  • Lewis Robeson Akers (1925-1933)
  • Z.T. Johnson (1940-1966)
  • Karl K. Wilson (1966-1967)
  • Cornelius R. Hager (1967-1968; 1981-1983; 1992-1993)
  • Dennis F. Kinlaw (1968-1981; 1986-1991)
  • John P. Oswalt (1983-1986)
  • Edwin G. Blue (1991-1992)
  • David J. Gyertson (1993-2000)
  • Paul A. Rader (2000-2006)
  • William C. Crothers (2006-2007)
  • Sandra C. Gray (2007-present)


Asbury College competes athletically in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Asbury is affiliated with the NAIA (Division I for all sports, except basketball - Division II) while also partnered with the NCCAA (Division I).

School sports include Baseball, Basketball (Men's & Women's), Cross Country (Men's & Women's), Soccer (Men's & Women's), Swimming & Diving, Softball, Tennis (Men's & Women's), and Volleyball.

The school mascot is the eagle in the school colors of purple and white.

See also

Further reading

  • Asbury College: Vision and Miracle, by Joseph A. Thacker, Jr. (Evangel Press, 1990)
  • The Autobiography of John Wesley Hughes, by John Wesley Hughes (Pentecostal Publishing Co., 1923)
  • Some Chapters of My Life Story, by Henry Clay Morrison (Pentecostal Publishing Co., 1941)
  • Revival Fire, by Wesley Deuwel (Zondervan, 1995)
  • A History of Asbury College Choronology, by Dr. Edward H. McKinley (
  • A Song of Ascents, by E. Stanley Jones (Abingdon Press, 1968)


External links



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