Skip Menu
Email Us!

History of MSU

In 135 years, the sweep of history has carried Morehead State University and its predecessor institution, the Morehead Normal School, from one makeshift classroom to the high-tech world of Internet-based classes and a radio telescope/space tracking system that reaches from a campus ridgetop literally to the stars.

One student appeared on the first day of class in October 1887, in a little, rented cottage where the Adron Doran University Center now stands. Tens of thousands of students have come from the foothills and mountains, the river towns and the hillside farms of Eastern Kentucky and beyond to seek the means to a better life in this beautiful, forested valley. Our first president, Frank Button, and his widowed mother, Phebe, literally spent their lives bringing "a light to the mountains" by founding a church-sponsored school to train teachers.

The University began as Morehead Normal School, which opened its doors in 1887. The private school closed in the spring of 1922 when the Kentucky General Assembly established Morehead State Normal School. The state institution accepted its first students in the fall of 1923 and graduated its first class in 1927. Name changes occurred in 1926 when "and Teachers College" was added, again in 1930 when it was shortened to Morehead State Teachers College, again in 1948 when "Teachers" was dropped and, finally, to university status in 1966. Fourteen men, starting with Frank C. Button, have served as president. Dr. Jay Morgan assumed office as the 14th president on July 1, 2017.

Published History

A Light to the Mountains: Morehead State University 1887-1997

By Donald F. Flatt, Professor Emeritus of History
ISBN: 0945084609
Publisher: The Jesse Stuart Foundation
Pub. Date: November 1997

A Walk Down Memory Lane: A History of Morehead State University
The Naming of Buildings on Campus and Related Stories and Photos - Beginning in 1960
By Dr. C. Nelson Grote, President Emeritus