Kentucky College for WomenKentucky College for Women

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Kentucky College for Women (KCW) can trace its origins back to 1854 when the state legislature granted a charter to "earnest Christian men who desired for the young women, not only of this community, but of the state at large, educational advantages similar to those afforded young men in the historic Centre College." The school was to be known as Henderson Female Institute. A board of trustees was elected and efforts began to raise funds for the new institution and select a site. In 1859, the college began erecting a four story brick building, and in the same year selected Professor A.E. Sloane as its president. The school opened in September, 1860, under a new name - Caldwell Female Institute - and with high hopes for a rapid expansion.

The Civil War delivered a harsh blow to the young institution as the school struggled to attract students and remain solvent. Sloane resigned in 1864, and Professor Augustine Hart assumed the presidency for one year. Rev. L.G. Barbour succeeded Hart in 1865 and brought the school into new-found prominence. Barbour resigned in 1874. Later that year the school came under the control of the Second Presbyterian Church. In 1876, the institution underwent another name change, and would now be known as Caldwell Female College.

Catastrophe struck in April 1876 (during the presidency of Professor Hussey), when Caldwell's building and most of its components were destroyed by fire. The insurance money from the fire gave the trustees some hope of reopening the school, but the school remained closed until 1880 when Caldwell purchased the property of the Danville Classical and Military Institute (current site of Danville High School). Finally, in September 1881, Caldwell reopened with Rev. John Montgomery as president. In 1885, Caldwell consolidated with another local girls' school, Bell Seminary, retaining the name of Caldwell Female College. The name was shortened to Caldwell College as early as 1887.

Charlotte A. Campbell took over as president in 1886, and served until 1897, when she was succeeded by Dr. John C. Ely. Ely served until 1902, to be succeeded by John C. Acheson - the only Caldwell president to serve two terms. During Acheson's first term, the school grew and a major building program was instituted which resulted in the construction of the gymnasium, Morgan Hall, and East Hall. In addition, the curriculum was expanded beyond elementary and college preparatory work to include fully accredited Junior College work.

In 1913, the charter was amended and the school became Kentucky College for Women. During the same year Princeton Collegiate Institute of Princeton, Kentucky consolidated with KCW in Danville. When Acheson resigned in 1914, Mrs. Richer served a very brief term and M. Marshall Allen assumed the presidency in 1915.

By 1922 KCW offered four years of standard college work leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts. Acheson returned to the presidency in 1922, and the college seemed to be prospering as never before. Still, funding problems remained, and Acheson resigned in 1925. Paul B. Boyd was named president in 1925, but KCW's days as an independent institution were numbered.

In 1926, the school opened as a department of Centre College, and formally consolidated with Centre in 1930. The Women's Campus was vacated in January 1962 when the two campuses consolidated and the women students took up residence in new dormitories on the Centre campus.

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