Category: Transylvania University

Categories: Kentucky Colleges and Universities


Transylvania College (now Transylvania University) was chartered in 1780 by Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, making it the first college in Kentucky, the first college west of the Allegheny Mountains, and among the oldest colleges in the United States. Transylvania's name, meaning "across the woods" in Latin, stems from the university's founding in the heavily forested region of western Virginia known informally as Transylvania Colony. This region became the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the 15th state admitted to the union, in 1792.

By 1818 Transylvania included a Medical School, a Law School, a Theological Seminary, and a College of Arts and Sciences. (Several of these schools were later reorganized and are now part of other institutions.) A fire destroyed major portions of the school shortly after the Civil War.

Transylvania is the alma mater of two U.S. vice presidents, two U.S. Supreme Court justices, fifty U.S. senators, 101 U.S. representatives, 36 U.S. governors, and 34 U.S. ambassadors.


People or pages in Transylvania University

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  • John Payne 18 Feb 1788 Lancaster County, Virginia - 18 Jan 1854

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