The Elijah P. Marrs Honors College

The mission of the Elijah P. Marrs (EPM) Honors College is to prepare students as academic scholars, agents of change, and leaders to excel in a global society through innovative learning, research experiences, and community service. Entering Freshmen making an application to the EPM must have a 3.4 high school GPA and a minimum ACT score of 25 or a minimum SAT score of 1220. 

Honors courses are open only to students in the EPM and those with a 3.4 GPA who may be recommended to the director by their Department Chair and/or professors. Each course in the EPM is constructed to provide a more academically rigorous challenge than courses in the regular curriculum. The EPM is led by Dr. Leroy T. Smith, III.

Elijah P. Marrs was born a slave in January 1840 in Shelby County, Kentucky to Andrews and Frances Marrs. His father, Andrew, had been granted his freedom by his master before Elijah was born, but his mother was still a slave, and with her sons was owned by a man named Jesse Robinson. He had one brother, Henry C. Marrs. He converted to the Baptist religion at the age of eleven by Rev. Charles Wells and received basic education studying at night under Ham Graves, a black man, and later at Sunday schools. 

Marrs picked up on Graves' ability to teach and began teaching fellow slaves how to read as well. This passion for teaching and helping others continued even when the American Civil War (1861–1865) started, Marrs read newspapers to other slaves, keeping people informed about the progress of the war. In 1879, Elijah and Henry co-founded Simmons College of Kentucky. Elijah served as the first president and Henry was the principal, but these roles were in flux, and in 1879 and 1880, he also served as business manager. The school opened on November 24, 1879.

The Honors College currently houses the following Honor Societies and Academic Clubs:

Alpha Sigma Lambda – ΑΣΛ Sigma Lambda Chapter 

Alpha Lambda Delta - ΑΛΔ

Delta Epsilon Chi (ABHE) - ΔΕΧ

Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) 

Falcon Honors (President’s list)

(Sigma Chi Kappa) - ΣΧΚ

National Society of Leadership & Success

(Sigma Alpha Pi) - ΣAπ

For more information on the Elijah P. Marrs Honors College, please contact Dr. Leroy T. Smith III via

1018 South 7th Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40203

(502) 776-1443

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Simmons College of Kentucky is nationally accredited by the Association of Biblical Higher Education