Marshall University is a multi-campus, public university, operating under state control, based in Huntington, West Virginia. As part of the University of West Virginia system, it offers innovative undergraduate and graduate education which contribute to the development of society and the individual. The 70-acre campus, located 126 miles east of Lexington, Kentucky, and 50 miles west of Charleston, consists of 30 major buildings including residence halls. In addition to Huntington campus, the university has a graduate-level branch campus (Marshall University Graduate College) in South Charleston, and undergraduate centers in Gilbert, Point Pleasant, and Hurricane. Marshall University was founded by John Laidley (a local lawyer) in 1837, as Marshall Academy in Maple Grove, West Virginia. The academy was a private high school under the control of the Southern Methodist Church. It was named for John Marshall - the great Chief Justice of the United States. In 1838, the academy was officially chartered by the Virginia General Assembly, and began its first full term, although the school changed its name to Marshall College, in 1857. During the Civil War it was closed for several years. Over the years, the church lost control of the college and it was designated as a state institution in 1867. Marshall College officially commenced granting master's degree programs in 1938, in the field of chemistry, education, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. A special highlight for the college was when John F. Kennedy spoke here during his cross-country campaign for the presidency, in 1960. Marshall became a university in 1961, though it had been accredited as a "university level institution" for many decades prior to that. Since then it has grown tremendously, particularly in the 1990's. The construction boom included the likes of the state-of-the-art Drinko Library, Jomie Jazz Center, and the addition of the Graduate College, in 1997). Marshall University’s School of Medicine, the first professional school and the first doctoral program, was founded in 1977. The John Deaver Drinko Library, which includes a 24-hour study center and a coffee shop, was opened on campus in 1998. Today, the institution offers programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, education, fine arts, and nursing. These programs lead to associates degrees, bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, post-master's certificates, doctoral degrees, and first professional degrees. Total enrollment is approximately 12,000, including 4,000 graduate students. Marshall University is accredited by many organizations including the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, the International Association for Management Education, the Council on Social Work Education, the National Association of Schools of Music, and the World Safety Organization. Marshall's sports teams, known as the “Thundering Herd,” compete in NCAA Division I-A as a member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Athletic scholarships are given in football, basketball, baseball, track, and cross country.