SOMERSET, Ky. -- U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers announced today that the new University Center of Southern Kentucky (UCSK) will open with the fall semester of 2019 on the campus of Somerset Community College (SCC). Rogers launched the initiative with Dr. Jay Box, President of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System; Dr. Carey Castle, President and CEO of Somerset Community College; and local community leaders in the Lake Cumberland region.
The University Center of Southern Kentucky, described by Congressman Rogers as a "multi-versity" for student success, will provide several pathways and delivery methods for students to earn a four-year degree from partnering universities in Kentucky on the campus of Somerset Community College. After completing a two-year degree at SCC, students will be able to choose from the partnering university of their choice and have access to student support services to complete a four-year bachelor's degree at the Somerset campus. Partnering universities and baccalaureate programs will be announced in the near future.
"The one thing missing from the Lake Cumberland region is the option for students to get an affordable bachelor's degree. Now spring graduates in May 2019 will have the option to stay here at home to get a four-year degree at an affordable rate. I applaud Dr. Castle and Dr. Box for working directly with some of the largest public universities in Kentucky to make that dream a reality," said Congressman Rogers. "Instead of a uni-versity, we're calling this center a multi-versity, because students will be able to choose which university offers the best degree for their career path without leaving Somerset. Opening new doors of opportunity for education here at home is a key factor to ending the out-migration of our best and brightest students."
“As I travel around the state, I hear a common refrain from Kentucky students. They want opportunities to live and work in their home communities while pursuing their post-secondary education,” said Gov. Bevin. “SCC’s University Center, in coordination with other Kentucky universities, will provide these opportunities by creating new pathways for students to obtain a degree of their choice while enrolled at the Somerset campus. I applaud the leadership of Congressman Rogers, Dr. Box, and SCC administrators for developing this innovative program to benefit students in the Lake Cumberland region and beyond.”
Dr. Castle named Mr. Trent Pool as the new UCSK Director to incorporate programming and workforce needs in the region as university partnerships develop. Pool lives in London and has been with Somerset Community College for 16 years. He most recently served as the advising center coordinator for the SCC Laurel Campus.
“The drive to succeed doesn’t have to involve driving great distances to obtain a bachelors’ degree. You will now be able to get your degree in Somerset at the university center,” said Dr. Castle. “It is a mix of institutions that are complementary and different. I think the opportunities are going to be great for this region.”
"This center is a win-win for students in the Somerset area because it will allow them to get a four-year degree right in their own backyard and save money at the same time by getting the first two years of their degree at SCC," said Dr. Box. "I applaud Congressman Rogers' leadership in making this partnership happen."
Prior to the announcement, a group of approximately 100 leaders from the Lake Cumberland region met on campus to discuss support and guidance for UCSK, establishing the university center's Founder's Club. The club elected the following leaders: Chairman Bill Turpen of Somerset, Vice-Chair Paula Thompson of London and Secretary Cindy Clouse of Somerset.
More details about UCSK are expected to be announced in early 2019.