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Wed, 08.20.1856

Wilberforce University is Founded

This date marks the founding of Wilberforce University in 1856. The school is a private, coeducational institution affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

On this date, the application was made to the authorities of Greene County and the State of Ohio under "The Wilberforce University." Wilberforce University is named to honor the British abolitionist Sir William Wilberforce.

The university confers bachelor's degrees in a range of fields. It offers courses of study in the arts and sciences, business administration and management, computer science, health services administration, rehabilitation therapy, music, and theological studies. Joint degrees in engineering are offered in cooperation with the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati. Scholar William S. Scarborough was president from 1908-1920. In 1909, the Carnegie Library was dedicated. A gift from the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the traditional brick structure was remodeled in 1938.

In 1971, the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center was erected at the Colonel Charles Young House about a mile from the campus. The building has been restored, and plans are to convert it into a military museum.  In 1991, an evening program for adults enrolled its first students. It was called CLIMB (Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business). Adult and Continuing Education was established as a new administrative unit.

In 1996, a yearlong celebration of the 140th anniversary of the school's founding featured Wilberforce University Day on the Dayton Court House Square and the Gala in the Multiplex.  The construction of a new state-of-the-art dormitory between the Stokes and the main dormitory complex was completed recently.  Wilberforce University was America's first private historically Black college HBCU.

The current (22nd President) is Elfred Anthony Pinkard, Ed.D.



Wilberforce University
Archives and Special Collections
Rembert E. Stokes Learning Resource Center
P.O. Box 1003
Wilberforce, Ohio 45384

Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-864984-2

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