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*These portraits are hanging just inside the Keen Johnson Building.* How did EKU get to where it is today? EKU didn’t magically appear, equipped with university status and facilities. Through the steadfast leadership of thirteen presidents, EKU has become the university we know and love. While each president has left his or her own legacy on campus, several are highlighted below. Ruric Roark got the ball rolling as the University’s first president. His wife, Mary Roark, became the first female president in EKU history after her husband’s death. President Herman Lee Donovan’s era built Eastern's most notable landmark, the Keen Johnson Building. President William F. O’Donnell helped integrate the campus in the 1950s with the enrollment of EKU’s first African American student, Andrew Miller. J.C. Powell, who took leadership after Robert R. Martin, polished the growing campus footprint that Martin is so well-known for creating. Currently, President Michael Benson is leading Eastern through a new phase of transformation. During his tenure, the University has opened the doors to three new residence halls, the Scholar House for single parents pursuing higher education, a new stand-alone dining hall, the University’s first parking garage, and more.


  • Presidents 7-12 on the left side of the Keen Johnson entrance.
  • Presidents 1-6 on the right side of the Keen Johnson entrance.