Wilberforce Students Receive Degrees and Debt Relief

Special to The Truth

Wilberforce University graduated students with degrees in Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and the adult education CLIMB program.

This year’s socially distanced commencement combined the classes of 2020 and 2021 and began at 8:00 Saturday morning, May 29 in the Gaston Lewis Gymnasium at the Alumni Multiplex.

One of the highlights of the morning was President Elfred Anthony Pinkard revealing he had a special announcement. The graduates were informed their Wilberforce University fines and other debt owed to the university for 2020 and 2021 have been canceled to a balance of zero. The university’s debt erasing dollars are resourced from various scholarships such as the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc., and other institutional funding to help students with their higher education finances. Last spring, during the initial COVID 19 pandemic outbreak, all Wilberforce students were relieved of financial pressure through the Higher Education Emergency Relied Fund (HEERF), set up through the CARES Act, which provided colleges and universities emergency financial aid.

New graduate Rodman Allen of Detroit said erasing his WU is a blessing. “I couldn’t believe it when he said it. I know now God will be with me. Now I can use that money and invest it into my future.”

Honorary doctorate degrees were awarded posthumously to civil rights and social justice pioneers Fannie Lou Hamer and Medgar Evers and a bachelor’s degree was conferred posthumously to senior William Easton, who died in a car accident in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida last month. William’s parents attended the commencement and accepted his degree.

As of Saturday morning, there are now 166 new members of the Wilberforce University Alumni Association.

Wilberforce University, established in 1856, is the nation’s first, private, historically black college or university (HBCU). Located in Greene County, near Dayton Ohio, the four year, accredited university is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Inc., the Ohio LINK Library Consortium, and the NAIA Conference. According to HBCU.com, Wilberforce is one of the top five HBCUs in the midwest.