More than 1,000 Gather in Greene County
Special to The Truth
Dawn Dance is the traditional invitation for alumni to return to their alma
mater to celebrate the spring season and honor Wilberforce, the nation’s
first, private historically Black college/university (HBCU).
This year, March 29 – April 1, more than 1,000 alumni, prospective
students, and friends attended on and off campus events in Greene County.
The weekend’s highlights began with a fashion show featuring a production
by Nubiance, a student-led modeling company. Events then advanced to a
chapel service that included the university chorale and a
reception with ’07 alum, master poet Jay Martinez.
Nearly 400 guests attended Preview Day. These visitors are prospective
students and their families who visited the campus for tours and
presentations. Among those who spoke, Provost Dr. Emily Lewis, President
Elfred Anthony Pinkard, Ms. Gernisha Parnell, director of CASS, the
university’s center for student success, and alumni who are now employed by
Dawn Dance event sponsors PNC Bank and the local law firm, Wright and
Cheerleaders offered a special welcome, and the WU marching band, the
Hounds of Sound, strutted that blazing, rhythmic flair. The Saturday
evening wrapped up with a sold out, HBCU style Greek fraternity and
sorority step show that had more than 500 people in attendance.
These events not only drove campus interaction, but according to the city
of Xenia’s economic development coordinator, 1,000 extra people in the
campus area over the weekend can create what is known as the multiplier
“That many people coming to an area for a weekend has a positive effect on
the local hotels, restaurants and shops,” said Steven Brodsky. “You hope
that they have enjoyed themselves enough to want to come back to this
Over the years, Wilberforce has helped bring additional income to the
Greene County area. One study by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
estimated that Wilberforce University has driven approximately $124 million
in economic spending to the region annually and has the capability of
creating more than 1,000 jobs.
This is the first in-person Dawn Dance in the three years since the COVID
pandemic closed many public events. The annual weekend is rivaled only by
the fall season’s homecoming festivities.
The university acknowledges the residents and business owners in Greene
County and the surrounding communities for their warm hospitality during
the fun filled weekend.