Transylvania University is among a handful of universities that pioneered higher education in America. Founded in 1780 by an act of the Virginia legislature under Governor Thomas Jefferson, Transylvania was the first university west of the Allegheny Mountains and only the sixteenth in the nation. The name - from the Latin meaning across the woods - derives from the name given to the rolling bluegrass area of western Virginia that became a part of Kentucky.
Transylvania established the first schools of medicine and law in what was still a wilderness region, educating the doctors, lawyers, ministers, political leaders, and others who helped shape the young nation. Distinguished alumni include two U.S. vice presidents, two U.S. Supreme Court justices, 50 U.S. senators, 101 U.S. representatives, 36 governors, and 34 ambassadors. Transylvania also founded the first college literary magazine in the West, The Transylvanian, still published by students today. Transylvania's link with early Lexington is symbolized by its administration building, Old Morrison, a registered National Historic Landmark and the central feature on the official seal of the city of Lexington.
Today, Transylvania continues to be a pioneer in liberal arts education. Faculty members are dedicated to undergraduate teaching and engage students in small classes. Transylvania professors have won more Kentucky Professor of the Year awards during the past decade than any other Kentucky college or university.
Located adjacent to Gratz Park, Transylvania's campus is an oasis of green in an historic district on the edge of downtown Lexington, a bustling city of over 300,000 people, and just miles from some of the most beautiful and famous horse farms in the world. Lexington is located at the crossroads of Interstate 75 and Interstate 64, and major and regional airlines serve the city's Blue Grass Airport.