Wilberforce University alum donates $10 million for re-launch of co-op program


Wilberforce University has received a $10 million donation to re-launch the university’s co-op program.

Mark Wilson, CEO of Atlanta-based Chime Solutions and the university’s board chairman, said his company is investing the money in the newly formed Wilberforce Foundation to fund the first cohort of 100 students in the Co-Operative Emerging Leaders Program.

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“My experience with the co-op program was life-changing and provided me with a mindset and set of skills which set me on a course of success in the corporate work environment and as an entrepreneur,” Wilson said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

“This partnership is an act of gratitude to Wilberforce and a demonstration of what collaborative and innovative thinking can accomplish for our students.”

The co-op program will place students in on- and off-campus jobs. The skills and experience learned should position them for pathways into corporate and entrepreneurial settings upon graduation from Wilberforce.

This represents an intentional re-imagining of the co-op program at Wilberforce, which was one of the first at an historically black college and university (HBCU).

Wilson said he spoke with the university’s leadership to reexamine the relevance of the program for 21st Century Wilberforce students, particularly addressing the changing needs and demands of the corporate workplace and entrepreneurial landscape.

The Wilberforce University Foundation is the university’s primary fundraising and gift-receiving organization, which was recently established as a nonprofit, tax exempt organization.

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