Wilberforce University is open for business, president says



Wilberforce University on Monday invited three members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus to discuss the institution’s new strategic plan and its new programs while also reintroducing the school to the public to let them know that “we are in fact open for business.”

“I want people to leave here thinking, ‘Wow, that is really a vibrant institution, there is important work going on, they have been very disciplined and rigorous and looking at the future of the institution, even in a COVID-19 environment,’" President Elfred Anthony Pinkard said.

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State Reps. Erica Crawley, D-Columbus; Stephanie Howse, D-Cleveland; and Catherine Ingram, D-Cincinnati; the OLBC’s president, were in attendance at the round table.

“We are here, at your service and really working to build our connection and relationship with Wilberforce University,” Crawley said.



Members of Pinkard’s leadership talked about the various programs the nation’s first Historically Black College and University has recently implemented or relaunched, and some improvements they’ve put in place in terms of academics. The team focused on three programs:

  • Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business ― CLIMB ― which is aimed at working adults who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree.
  • Master’s program in clinical rehabilitation counseling for those interested in with people who are addicted to opioids.
  • Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which prepares students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

“We are in our humble beginnings,” said Mark A. Wilson, chair of the university’s board of trustees.

In inviting the state representatives to campus, Pinkard said he’s also hoping to formed new partnerships both in government and the business world as he looks to raise money for the private institution and broaden students' educational experiences.

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Currently, there are no reported cases of the COVID-19 at Wilberforce, as majority of the students are taking classes remotely from their homes. There are about 20 students who are on campus, Pinkard said, noting that the leadership opted for that model during the summer.

The current model is for the fall semester only, and school leaders will make a decision at a later time regarding the spring semester, he said.

“It is our hope that we can bring our students back to campus, because many of them wish to come back,” Pinkard said.

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