By Gerard Flanagan, news writer and photographer, Office of University Communications
SOMERSET, Ky. – Campbellsville University and the University of Somerset Foundation have joined forces to open the Somerset Institute of Campbellsville University.
The university and the foundation made the announcement Dec. 13 at the former First and Farmers Bank Building in downtown Somerset, Ky., with the signing of a memorandum of understanding by Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, and Alan Keck, mayor of Somerset.
Hopkins said, “It is time to move to the next level of service in Somerset.”
The expected location of the administrative offices of the Somerset Institute is at the former First and Farmers Bank Building in downtown Somerset. A feasibility study is underway to explore utilizing the space for instructional purposes.
Alternative locations for the first phase of operations are also being explored.
“We want to create opportunities for Somerset students,” Hopkins said, “but we also hope to attract students from other states and other parts of the Commonwealth to consider moving here to have that Christ-centered education opportunity.
“To do this right, we cannot depend on instincts. We must make data-driven decisions, supported by funding and fiscally responsible decisions.”
The Somerset Institute of Campbellsville University anticipates offering classes in downtown Somerset by January 2024.
“The Somerset Institute is not merely another replication of programs found at other universities,” Hopkins said. “As we continue to explore this possibility, we’re committed to make sure the location, the feasibility of space and the timeline for offering classes are all carefully vetted and in alignment with our accreditation requirements and the community’s best interests.”
Hopkins said Campbellsville University’s values, which include fostering and achieving academic excellence, providing an environment conducive to student success, valuing diverse perspectives within a Christ-centered community and modeling servant leadership and stewardship, will guide the Somerset Institute’s path.
“Those values will guide each decision as we move forward,” he said. “Most certainly, our focus is on being a Christ-centered university. We hope to prepare students to be salt and light.”
Campbellsville University operates the Larry and Beverly Noe Education Center in Somerset, which offers associate and bachelor’s degrees and programs in allied health, cosmetology, barbering and dual credit.
“Campbellsville University came to Somerset in 2008, but these were only degree-completion programs,” Hopkins said. “We knew we wanted to expand our service and discovered the greatest opportunity was already underway.”
Demetrios Haseotes, CEO of Hemisphere Limited, announced his company is donating space in the company’s building to help the Somerset Institute get underway.
“This is an important step for our region,” Haseotes said. “We wanted Campbellsville University to have a highly visible and very accessible center of activity, so our company made an effort to see that it happened.”
Haseotes said, “We are excited about the potential that Dr. Hopkins and his team envision for Somerset. We know that this will be a major boost to our area. I have made this effort because I want all our families to have more choices in Somerset and surrounding areas for higher education in hopes of keeping our families rooted in this area.”
Campbellsville University is looking at new and unique opportunities to deliver education to the Somerset area, according to Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the university.
“Although Campbellsville University has more than 100 programs in place, we are seeking, even more, something more defined for Somerset,” Hedgepath said. “We want to implement what students and our state need, whether graduate or undergraduate or professional certificates.
“The degree completion programs in place and more that could be developed are critical to the education of those who find Somerset as their place of study.”
Hedgepath said the Noe Education Center would remain in Somerset, focusing on certificate and work-ready programs.
“As we watched the idea of the University of Somerset unfold,” Hedgepath said, “we realized there might be an opportunity to expand on the legacy of the Noe Center. There are great opportunities and obstacles ahead of us, and we are committed to making the best decisions for the students and the Somerset/Pulaski County region.”
Alan Keck, mayor of Somerset, said the city had explored the idea of a four-year institution in Somerset for some time.
“Campbellsville, in many ways, met that challenge,” Keck said. “Together, we are talking about doing that more robustly. It has been said that a proper college town is one in which younger learners connect with old traditions.
“It is a place with a good mix of cultural, social, sporting and religious activities, which residents of the community embrace. That is Somerset. We look forward to the Somerset Institute of Campbellsville University being part of our everyday life in this great region.”
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.