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About Transylvania University

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Transylvania University is a renowned liberal arts college in downtown Lexington, Kentucky – the heart of the beautiful Bluegrass region with a population of 270,000. Transylvania became the 16th college in America when it was founded in 1780.

Our history
In its early years, Transylvania included a medical school, a law school, a seminary, and a college of arts and sciences that educated thousands of the young nation’s leaders in government, business, medicine, law, and education.

Thomas Jefferson was governor of Virginia when that state’s government signed Transylvania’s charter in May 1780. He looked to Transylvania as an educational model, writing to a friend in 1820 that “If…we [Virginians] are to go a begging anywhere for education, I would rather it should be to Kentucky than any other state, because she has more flavor of the old cask than any other.”

Transylvania alumni include two vice presidents (Richard M. Johnson and John C. Breckinridge), two U.S. Supreme Court Justices (John Marshall Harlan and Samuel Freeman Miller), 50 U.S. Senators, 101 U.S. Representatives, 36 governors, and 34 ambassadors.

Our name
Transylvania is a Latin word meaning “across the woods.” The heavily forested territory of western Virginia that became Kentucky in 1792 was originally called Transylvania, and it became our name when the college was founded here in 1780.

Our mission
Through an engagement with the liberal arts, Transylvania University prepares its students for a humane and fulfilling personal and public life by cultivating independent thinking, open-mindedness, creative expression, and commitment to lifelong learning and social responsibility in a diverse world.

Our present
Transylvania is a four-year liberal arts college that is consistently ranked and praised in leading national college guides. We enroll approximately 1,100 students and offer 38 majors. Our three most popular are psychology, biology, and business administration and our three newest are German studies, chemistry: biochemistry track, and music technology. Our average class size is 17; we have no teaching assistants and 96 percent of our faculty hold the Ph.D. or highest degree in their field.

Our park-like campus is located three blocks from Main Street in Lexington, meaning students have easy access to area restaurants, shops, events, and businesses where they are frequently hired for internships, part-time jobs, and full-time careers.

Honoring our 19th century medical and law history, Transylvania graduates today are accepted into some of the nation’s top graduate, medical, and law schools. In fact, over 90 percent of students we recommend to medical school are accepted and our acceptance rate to law school is nearly 100 percent.

Study abroad is offered for the term, year, or summer at locations around the world including a semester program at Regent’s College in London, England. Sixty-five percent of our students study abroad.

We offer 18 intercollegiate sports (NCAA Division III). Men’s and women’s lacrosse will be added in the fall. Intramural sports are also offered.

We have over 50 student organizations and clubs, including many that focus on community service – one of Transylvania’s top priorities. Organizations include Greek fraternities and sororities, a student newspaper, a student radio station, diversity organizations, a Quidditch team, and many more.
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Transylvania University admits students regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other classification protected by federal or state law or local ordinance.