Campbellsville University confers honorary doctorate on Dr. Kevin Cosby

Campbellsville University confers honorary doctorate on Dr. Kevin Cosby

May 18, 2011
For Immediate Release

 Dr. Frank Cheatham, left, vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Michael V. Carter, right, president of CU, place the honorary doctorate hood on Dr. Kevin Cosby, undergraduate commencement speaker and president of Simmons College of Kentucky. (Campbellsville University Photo by Katie Johnson)


By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky and pastor of St. Stephen Church in Louisville, was presented an honorary doctorate of humanities at Campbellsville University’s commencement May 14.

Cosby, who was the commencement speaker for the undergraduate ceremony, was given the doctorate by Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of CU; Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs; and Dr. Joe Owens, vice chair of the CU Board of Trustees and pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.

“The greatest honor and recognition given by any university is that of the honorary doctorate degree,” Carter said.
“The honorary degree is given to those individuals who have displayed excellence in leadership, made extraordinary contributions to humanity, and distinguished themselves in their respective professional fields.

“Certainly, our commencement speaker today, Dr. Kevin W. Cosby, has met all of the requisites that have been established by the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees in awarding an honorary doctorate degree,” Carter said.

Cosby’s address centered on the James Hall book, “Lost Island.” He told the graduates life is about losing our “islands” – places in which we experience each part of our life – and moving from one “island” to another.
He said we can’t stop life and can’t stop changing from island to island, but he told the graduates Campbellsville University helped them get to their next island, and they should realize the value of what CU gave them.

“Campbellsville University gave you wings,” Cosby said. “Don’t let anyone take away your wings. Fly into the orbit of God and his kingdom.”

Cosby has been serving as senior pastor of St. Stephen Church since 1979. During his tenure, the church has grown from 500 members to approximately 10,000 members. St. Stephen Church is now recognized by Outreach Magazine as one of the top 100 largest churches in America and by Emerge Magazine as one of the six super churches of the south.

In 1998, Cosby encouraged St. Stephen Church to purchase and convert the original four-acre campus of Simmons University, once home to the oldest African-American educational institution in Kentucky, to be used as a lifestyle enrichment campus.

Since 2005 Dr. Cosby has served as the 13th president of Simmons College of Kentucky – the oldest African American higher education institution in Kentucky.

Cosby has been able to provide the institution with the original campus - more than 70 years after Simmons had to give up the college’s original campus at the beginning of the Great Depression.

“Simmons is undergoing a renaissance under the visionary leadership of Dr. Cosby,” Carter said.

“In 2006 Dr. Cosby and I gathered on the Simmons campus to announce a historic partnership between our two institutions – one that has certainly been beneficial for Campbellsville University – and a partnership that continues five years later as evidenced by the recent announcement of the installation of teleconferencing facilities, made possible by a grant from The Gheens Foundation on the Simmons campus and that will allow Simmons to be a part of the CU-360 program which provides teleconferencing connectivity among CU main campus and various sites around the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” he said.

Carter said, “Although Dr. Cosby has achieved many accomplishments, the thing that is most notable about him is his commitment to serving the Lord and improving the lives of others in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Cosby earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., a master of divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a doctor of ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

He has taught at several institutions and has lectured at various locations around the country and world including Harvard University.

Cosby has also authored three books, “Get off Your But!: Messages, Musings & Ministries to Empower the African-American Church,” “As They Went” and “Treasure Worth Seeking.”

Cosby is married to Barnetta Turner Cosby, and they are the parents of two children, Christine and Kevin Christopher.

 Dr. Joe Owens, vice chair for CU's Board of Trustees, Dr. Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky and undergraduate commencement speaker, and Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of CU, wait for the commencement ceremony to begin. (Campbellsville University Photo by Christina Miller)


A total of 517 students received degrees, pending completion of all academic requirements. There were 119 graduate student degrees awarded May 13 and 262 students receiving undergraduate degrees May 14. December’s class consisted of 136 graduates.

Of the 119 graduate degrees, there were: master of arts in organizational leadership, three; master of arts in social science, five; master of arts in special education, 41; master of business administration, 24; master of music in piano pedagogy, two; master of music in church music, one; master of music in performance, six; master of arts in education, five; master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages, five; master of music in music education, one; master of social work, 12; master of theology, seven; and master of science in counseling, seven.

The following undergraduate degrees included: bachelor of arts, 19; bachelor of music, four; bachelor of science, 162; bachelor of science in business administration, 42; bachelor of social work, 10; associate degree in nursing, 15; and associate of science, 10.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate programs, 17 master’s degrees and five postgraduate areas. The website for complete information is

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