Past Presidents

Kentucky State University presidential lineage 

Kentucky State University, which was founded in 1886, has had 18 permanent presidents since its humble beginnings. 

Four presidents have served multiple terms, with each term counting as a separate presidency. John Henry Jackson (1886-1898, 1907-1910), James Shelton Hathaway (1900-1907, 1910-1912), Green Pinckney Russell (1912-1923, 1924-1929) and Raymond M. Burse (1982-1989, 2014-2016) all served as multiple-term presidents. Previous historians have not always advanced the number of presidents in the institution’s history because of multiple-term presidencies. For example, instead of counting John Henry Jackson as the first and fourth president, Jackson would only be counted as the first president. Considering Jackson as the first and fourth president is considered a best practice and is done so in the University’s official history.   

Multiple interim presidents have guided Kentucky State throughout its history, but are not counted in the institution’s list of permanent presidents. Kentucky State honors those who have moved the University onward, upward and forward during its historical service to the Commonwealth and the nation.

John Henry Jackson
1886 – 1898
James Edward Givens
1898 – 1900
James Shelton Hathaway
1900 – 1907
John Henry Jackson
1907 – 1910
James Shelton Hathaway
1910 – 1912
Green Pinckney Russell
1912 – 1923
Francis Marion Wood
1923 – 1924
Green Pinckney Russell
1924 – 1929
Rufus B. Atwood
1929 – 1962
Carl McClellan Hill
1962 – 1975
William A. Butts
1975 – 1982
Raymond M. Burse
1982 – 1989
John T. Wolfe, Jr.
1990 – 1991
Mary L. Smith
1991 – 1998
George W. Reid
1998 – 2002
Mary Evans Sias
2004 – 2014
Raymond M. Burse
2014 – 2016
M. Christopher Brown II
2017 -