Our Mission

Atwood InstituteStatement of Purpose

Atwood Institute historical image

Our approach to the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal’s work is a tripartite mission to honor diverse experiences, dismantle negative stereotypes, and train emergent leaders—each is focused first on our campus, then onward toward our environs, and then upward across the historically black college and university and higher educational landscapes.

At the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal at Kentucky State University, we strive to:

  • Honor the experiences of each of our constituents, providing safe and inclusive environments for detection, dialogue, and discovery of diversity
  • Dismantle the stereotypes and myths with regard to race, ethnicity, class, gender, culture, immigrants, and sexual orientation
  • Train and educate emerging leaders in the necessity of effective anti-racism and educational equity work

Atwood Institute historical group image


Chartered in May 1886, Kentucky State University bears 1890 land-grant status as well as HBCU designation. Kentucky State is committed to providing our students with a comprehensive education that affords a degree and prepare them for a lifetime of learning. As the flagship institute of Kentucky State University and our community, the Atwood Institute for Race, Education, and the Democratic Ideal is an extension of this mission. Its objectives are to:

  • Explore issues of race, education, and the democratic ideal: (1) How institutions are affected by these issues; (2) How these issues individually and/or collectively frame and implement policy, and; (3) How these institutions, influenced by issues of race and education, can both limit and advance the democratic ideal
  • Provide opportunities for Kentucky State University students, faculty, staff, and community members to participate in scholarly research and civic engagement
  • Define how connections between the democratic ideal is connected to race and education can serve as a platform for affecting change


The Atwood Institute affords Kentucky State University stakeholders access to scholarly research, interdisciplinary study, discourse and debate, as well as advocacy on cutting-edge issues related to race, education, and the democratic ideal. The Atwood’s symposiums, lectures, brown-bag lunches, and working group sessions, as well as our digital and print media services will include scholars, students, practitioners, and faculty members. The Atwood Institute seeks and attracts the support of key community institutions which include media, businesses, government, community colleges, universities, community-based, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. Not only does our work collaborate with diverse groups of people, we seek to secure cross-cultural understanding through community building, anti-racism training and conflict resolution, as well as educational equity initiatives.

Atwood Day 

Celebrated during the month of March—which marks the date of his birth, March 15, 1897, as well as that of his death, March 18, 1983—Atwood Day is identified annually to memorialize and celebrate the contributions of Rufus B. Atwood as Kentucky State’s ninth and longest-serving president.