Potter College’s life began with the purchase in March 1889 of a four-acre site at the crest of a rugged, cedar-covered rise known first as “Vinegar Hill,” then as “Copley Knob.” Opened in 1889, the Pleasant J. Potter College for Young Ladies was the first occupant of “the Hill” that is now home to Western Kentucky University.
Day and boarding students pursued a liberal arts curriculum at this fashionable private school. Down the hill on College Street, at Henry Hardin Cherry’s Western Kentucky State Normal School (chartered in 1906), students often came from more humble backgrounds to study in a coeducational setting. Nevertheless, when Potter College closed in 1909 and Western purchased its property, it absorbed some of the traditions of the young ladies’ college it replaced. In 1965, the Board of Regents approved the formation of the Potter College of Liberal Arts.