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December 14, 2018
It hasn’t been around as long as other area universities, but over the past few years, Northern Kentucky University has blossomed into a highly regarded institution for higher learning.Founded in 1968, the school traces its roots back to 1946 when the University of Kentucky (UK), as part its extension program, began offering classes in a Trailways bus station in Covington. Later, classes were held in the First District Elementary School. Later called Northern Community College, it relocated to the Park Hills section of Covington but was still under the direction of the University of Kentucky.
However, beginning in the early 1960s, in a manner similar to the one that brought Cincinnati’s international airport south of the Ohio River, a group of area leaders pressed for a new university, separate from UK, to be created in Northern Kentucky.In 1968, the Kentucky General Assembly authorized the creation of what was then called Northern Kentucky State College in Covington. In 1972, the school moved to its current location in Highland Heights. In 1976, it became Northern Kentucky University. Notable alumni include:E.W. Scripps president Rich BoehneCongressman Steve ChabotArtist David MackActor Adam GregoryFormer mayor of Cincinnati and congressman Tom LukenActor Faith PrincePulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb
Actor George Clooney (attended)
Stand-up comedian/Cincy Shirts co-founder/owner Josh Sneed also attended NKU.
Sports of All SortsThe athletic department got going in 1971 when the first NKU men’s basketball team hit the court with Norsemen chosen as the nickname. The school’s colors were chosen by then NKU dean of admissions Dr. James Claypool who looked to his alma mater, Centre College (Danville, KY), for inspiration. When women’s teams were added, they were known as the Norsewomen. It was of course changed later to the gender-neutral Norse.
Though often operating in the shadows of its more well-known neighbors, NKU’s athletic teams have received more and more attention over the years. On January 14, 1978, NKU men’s basketball team beat Xavier at the buzzer, 59-58, to notch the school’s first win against a Division I school. Mike Hofmeyer tipped in the winning shot.
In the early 2000s, NKU captured Division II national titles in women’s basketball in 2000 and 2008, as well as the men’s soccer title in 2010. In 2012, NKU joined the Division I Atlantic Sun Conference before moving to the Horizon League in 2015. Schools in that conference include Wright State, Cleveland State, and the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2016, the men’s basketball team qualified for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.More fun facts about NKU:In the ‘70s and ‘80s, pop, country, and rock music acts including Linda Ronstadt, Sly & The Family Stone, Eagles, and Dolly Parton performed at Regents Hall on campus.The lake, near the library building, is called Loch Norse.The school’s mascot is called Victor E. Viking and has a Facebook page.A 1970 “Pick the Mascot” contest produced suggestions like Mad Squirrels, Farmers, and Radical Liberals.The school’s BB&T Arena was the temporary home of the UC Bearcats while that school’s arena was being renovated. How NKU compares to other area universities:
Number of Bachelor's Degrees Offered
Percent who commute/live off campus
Size of campus in acres
Sources: US News & World Report, university websites.
(Photo credit: Samvscat)
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I would love to find more info and dates of music acts performed that performed there. I can’t seem to find anything.
December 17, 2018
1. It was Northern Kentucky STATE College, thus NKSC.
2. Jim Claypool was the Dean of Students, not President.
December 16, 2018
George Clooney attended NKU for a period but is not an alumnus. I don’t believe he ever graduated from NKU.
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