Wilberforce University is a private, coed, liberal arts historically African-American university located in Wilberforce, Ohio, that is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and participates in the United Negro College Fund. Wilberforce University was founded by a Black Bishop, Bishop Daniel Paine.
Wilberforce was the first university owned and operated by African-Americans, and is named for the 18th century English statesman and abolitionist William Wilberforce. The school played a role in the Underground Railroad. The campus is located three miles from Xenia, Ohio, and 21 miles from Dayton, Ohio.
Wilberforce University History
- Founded in 1856 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Wilberforce closed temporarily in 1862 during the American Civil War and reopened the following year after being sold to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Growth drove the need to build a new campus in 1967, located one mile away.
- In 1974, a tornado destroyed much of the city of Xenia and the old campus, part of the Super Outbreak tornado storm. The old campus contains the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center. Other old campus buildings still in use include the Carnegie Library built in 1909, Shorter Hall built in 1922, and the Charles Leander Hill Gymnasium built in 1958.
- Wilberforce is one of two four-year institutions in the United States that require all students to participate in cooperative education to meet graduation requirements. The cooperative program places students in internships that provide practical experience in addition to academic training.