Episode 54. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby – Senior Pastor, St. Stephen Baptist Church & President, Simmons College of Kentucky
Dr. Kevin Cosby is driven to see people grow and transform their minds, lives, and relationships.
Dr. Cosby is the senior pastor of St. Stephen Church in Louisville, which has grown from 500 to approximately 10,000 members. Outreach magazine named St. Stephen one of the 100 largest churches in America. He is also president of Simmons College of Kentucky, the oldest black-owned and operated education institution in Kentucky.
Dr. Cosby has held administrative and teaching assignments at Kentucky State University, the University of Louisville, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the United Theological Seminary. His exceptional oratory skills have produced lecture engagements at universities and institutions worldwide, including Harvard University.
He received a bachelor of science from Eastern Kentucky University, a master of divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a doctor of ministry from United Theological Seminary.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Kevin W. Cosby has served as the Senior Pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church, the largest African American Church in the state of Kentucky, as well as the largest private employer of African Americans in the state. In 2005, Dr. Cosby was inaugurated as the 13th President of Simmons College of Kentucky. In 2007, he led the once fledgling college to reclaim its original campus, lost during the Great Depression and has since expanded to three campus locations. Under Dr. Cosby’s visionary leadership, the college earned national accreditation from the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and expanded its degree programs. Dr. Cosby uncovered the rich history of Simmons, established by former slaves. In 2014, Simmons was recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Historically Black College & University. During his first decade there, Dr. Cosby refused to take a salary to stabilize the college and returned more than $700,000.
Dr. Cosby was the convener of The Angela Project, named after the first enslaved person to step off the slave ship in Jamestown, VA, in 1619. The Angela Project was a three-year conference that led up to the 400th-year commemoration of Slavery in America in 2019. Dr. Cosby explained, “The purpose of The Angela Project was to reengage the church in activism, to get back to our roots as proponents of justice.”
He is one of our nation’s most influential leaders: He was inducted into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians at the Kentucky State Capitol (2015); At the request of Muhammad Ali, he served as one of the eulogists at his Funeral (2016); and he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College (2017).
Dr. Cosby released a new book in the Spring of 2021 entitled: “Getting to the Promised Land: Black America and the Unfinished Work of The Civil Rights Movement.” The book is a Biblical commentary on the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) published by Westminster John Knox Press.
Dr. Cosby has an earned Doctor of Ministry degree and is pursuing his second doctorate – a Ph.D. at Union Institute & University in Cincinnati, OH.
Dr. Cosby is married to the former Barnetta Turner. They have two adult children (Christine Nicole & Kevin Christopher).