Gov. Beshear: New Highway Signage Highlights Kentucky’s Two Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Five signs to be installed this week on two interstates and a local street

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2021) – Local leaders and higher education officials gathered today at Simmons College of Kentucky as Gov. Andy Beshear announced new roadside signs to recognize Kentucky’s two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

This week contractors will begin work to install five signs on two Kentucky interstates and a local Jefferson County roadway.

“Louisville and Frankfort are home to the state’s only HBCUs, and these signs will elevate awareness to Kentuckians and travelers alike of the historic significance these higher learning institutions have played in Kentucky’s history,” Gov. Beshear said. “These institutions, their missions and the people they serve are vital parts of Team Kentucky and crucially important as we build a better Kentucky for every family.”

“We’re proud to display the names of these long-standing institutions on state signs to help visitors easily locate these campuses while giving a nod to one of the many reasons they are notable in Kentucky,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said.

Today, three “Historic Simmons College” signs honoring Simmons College of Kentucky will be installed facing both directions of Interstate Highway 65 near Exit 135 in Jefferson County. A third sign will be installed on St. Catherine Street before Seventh Street (Kentucky Highway 1931). This is the first appearance of interstate signage recognizing the college.

“Louisville is blessed to have what only a few cities in America has, and that is a Historically Black College and University,” said Simmons College of Kentucky President Dr. Kevin Cosby. “While being only 3% of the colleges, HBCUs graduate almost 20% of Black baccalaureate degree recipients, 50% of all Black teachers and 75% of all Black doctors, dentists and attorneys in the United States. This sign will point Louisville students to a historic institution that will help them become the absolute best version of themselves.”

“Simmons College of Kentucky, our city’s only HBCU, is a beacon of opportunity and a vital partner in the work of developing, attracting and retaining Black talent – building the next generation of Black professionals and leaders necessary for Louisville to reach its full potential and truly become a city of equity,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “I join in thanking Gov. Andy Beshear for recognizing early on the important role Simmons plays to Louisville and to Kentucky. These signs are literally helping lead the way to Simmons, just as Simmons is helping lead young people toward bright and successful futures.”

Two “Kentucky State University” signs will be installed this Friday facing both directions of Interstate Highway 64 near Exits 53B and Exit 58, respectively. While KSU directional signage has been present on I-64, the new signage will identify the institution as a HBCU. Each sign is 19-feet tall and weighs 907 pounds.

“As Kentucky State University celebrates a proud history of 135 years as the commonwealth’s only public HBCU, the KSU Board of Regents, the faculty, staff, students, alumni and supporters are excited to join Gov. Beshear in recognizing the state’s HBCUs with the installation of new highway signage,” said Kentucky State University Board of Regents chairperson Dr. Elaine Farris. “Today marks a momentous occasion for Kentucky State University as we are honored to continue our legacy of serving and educating Kentuckians.”

“Today we celebrate the rich history of both Simmons College and Kentucky State University for their significant contributions to improving the lives of Black Kentuckians and others beyond our state through higher education,” said Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson. “These HBCUs are the colleges of choice for many students because of their unique missions and distinctive roles in creating culturally competent graduates and a more vibrant workforce. This designation is well-deserved, and all of us in the higher education community look forward to their continued success.”


Click here to view mockups of Simmons College of Kentucky signage.

Click here to view mockups of KSU signage.