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Dwayne Cox and William Morison trace the twists and turns of the University of Louisville's two hundred year journey from provincial academy to national powerhouse.

From the 1798 charter that established Jefferson Seminary to the 1998 opening of Papa John Stadium, Cox and Morison reveal the unique and fascinating history of the university's evolution. They discuss the early failures to establish a liberal arts college; tell the extraordinary story of the Louisville Municipal College, U of L's separate division for African Americans during the era of segregation; detail the political wrangling and budgetary struggles of the university's move from quasi-private to state-supported institution; and confront head-on the question of the university's founding date.

The history of the University of Louisville defies the stereotype of orderly and planned growth. For many years, the university was essentially a consortium of two professional schools—medicine and law. Not until the first decade of the twentieth century did the liberal arts gain a firm and permanent foothold. Because of its early emphasis on practical, professional education and the virtual autonomy of its separate units for many years, the University of Louisville is unusual in the annals of higher education.

Dwayne D. Cox, university archivist at Auburn University, was associate archivist at the University of Louisville from 1975 to 1986.

William J. Morison is associate professor of history and director of the University Archives and Records Center at the University of Louisville.

"A lively narrative that will hold readers’ attention and interest. Anyone who has a connection to the University of Louisville should enjoy their book."—Bowling Green Daily News

"The authors present a fine balance of many aspects of a university's life: students, faculty, administration, trustees, curriculum, sports, political intrigue, and urban connectedness."—Clyde F. Crews

"A fast-paced overview of the first two centuries of their institution in an entertaining volume."—Indiana Magazine of History

"An excellent overview of a complex institution that is now recognized by the state as one of its two major universities, and one with a special urban mission."—Journal of Southern History

"Reveals the picture of higher education in Louisville and in the state, and the significant role the school has played in the city/"—Kentucky Libraries

"Any University of Louisville Alumnus will appreciate the fascinating historical account of their alma mater."—Kentucky Living

"Shows through words and pictures how the university has grown and changed from the original 18th century blueprint."—Kentucky Monthly

"A well-written book about an interesting university."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"A remarkable history of Louisville’s university, including the negatives as well as the positives, the humorous and the serious."—Louisville Courier-Journal

"This very readable work critically analyzes the effect of state and national developments on the institution’s development. All aspects (faculty, students, athletics, administration) of campus are thoroughly discussed."—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






University of Louisville, Higher education, Kentucky


Higher Education

The University of Louisville
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