The front view of Wilberforce University campus. Photo by HCF Media Team.

WILBERFORCE, OH – The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the agency that accredits degree granting colleges and universities, has removed the sanction of probation from Wilberforce University. The Commission took this action based on the university’s ability to demonstrate that it now meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The university was placed on probation in June 2018 when it was determined to be out of compliance with HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and was granted an extension based on HLC’s temporary emergency COVID-19 policy.

“We are forever grateful for God’s continued grace on Wilberforce University and thankful to HLC Board of Trustees for its decision,” said Wilberforce University President Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard. “This is wonderful news and the culmination of the hard and dedicated work of faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustees and their unwavering commitment to Wilberforce University.”

Despite the sanctions, Wilberforce University was able to accept credits and admit students. Wilberforce worked diligently to meet the standards set by HLC. That includes strengthening academic programs and services, achieving higher enrollment numbers, and establishing several new and invigorating partnerships with local, regional, and national universities, programs, and industries.

For Wilberforce alum and chair of its board of trustees, Mark Wilson, the news means moving the university forward. “This is the first of many great steps towards the continued success that the institution is poised to experience.”

At Wilberforce, resilience is part of our institutional DNA, and we choose to use this historic moment as an urgent call to action to continue the work of transforming Wilberforce into a high-performing institution with a viable and sustainable future,” Dr Pinkard continued.

“As we prepare for the upcoming HLC comprehensive visit, Wilberforce University will meet all the standards of the Higher Learning Commission by restructuring academic programs and operations to enhance the educational experience at the institution,” said Dr. Johnny D. Jones, Provost, Chief Academic Officer, and Wilberforce University HLC Liaison.

Wilberforce students praise the university’s leadership and commitment to upholding high academic standards.

“This is another testament to Wilberforce University’s rich history as the nation’s first, private HBCU,” said Student Government Association VP, Alexander Murphy. “Being removed from probation means we will continue that historic legacy.”

Despite the temporary probation status, Wilberforce University continued to private dedicated, globally competitive, quality education to its undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree (CLIMB) program.


WILBERFORCE, OH – Wilberforce University’s President, Dr. Elfred A. Pinkard, has launched its 2056 Future Focus Campaign #WilberforceUnite, which will concentrate on securing the financial future for the University. The 69-day campaign set goal is to raise $2 million to help meet the university’s need in support of students, facility enhancements, faculty and staff development, and academic programs.

“The Wilberforce Unite Campaign is about much more than giving to Wilberforce University. To be sure, that is an important and essential goal, but there are other considerations. We have the capacity to build a first-rate Wilberforce University with an uncompromising commitment to excellence, high performance and innovation. We need only look back at Wilberforce’s history and accomplishments of past Wilberforceans to look forward and image a future that is formidable and possible. We have but two choices; we can allow the naysayers to spew their negativity about what we cannot do, or we can collectively commit to facing our challenges together with determination and certainty and show the world what we can do. We Are Wilberforce!” said Pinkard in a statement.

Visit to learn more on how to support and give to the #WilberforceUnite Campaign.

Like Wilberforce University on Facebook, and follow @wilberforce_u on Twitter and Instagram.

About Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University is a four-year, fully accredited liberal arts institution offering 20 academic concentrations in business, communications, computing and engineering sciences, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Wilberforce University also offers dual degree programs in architecture, aerospace, and nuclear engineering. Though the University’s Adult and Continuing Education program, WU offers Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business (CLIMB), for individuals interested in completing their bachelor of science in organizational management, health care administration and information technology. Visit for more information.


Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr.

WILBERFORCE, OH – The Wilberforce University Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to appoint current Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard as the 22nd President of Wilberforce University to succeed Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr. This announcement comes after President Felton announced his decision to leave amid of his appointment as the 17th President and CEO of Wiley College. Felton has only served as president of Wilberforce for just over a year-and-a-half.

According to, Atty. Walter L. Sutton Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Wiley College, announced Dr. Felton appointment, who will succeed Dr. Haywood L. Strickland, who will retire as of June 2018.

Having served at Wiley College since 2000, Dr. Strickland is the institution’s second longest-serving President and CEO. He has served in the higher education community for 45 years.

“After conducting a thoughtful search with the assistance of AGB Search, Dr. Felton emerged as the successor to Dr. Haywood L. Strickland. We are confident that the process has produced a president-elect who is driven by mission, committed to building on the ‘student-centered’ culture shaped by the 16th President and a chief executive who will guide Wiley College successfully into the future.” said Sutton.

Prior to Felton appointment to Wilberforce University, he served as senior vice president, chief operating officer and vice president of institutional advancement for Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. Felton also was the director of development while serving as a lecturer in the Government, Law, and International Affairs Department at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky.

He is the co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation, an organization ensuring that a pipeline of transformational, highly skilled and principled leaders are identified and cultivated to meet the needs, challenges, and opportunities facing the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He also served in the United State Marine Corps for eight years.

Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard

Felton earned his Bachelor’s degree in political science from Edwards Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida, and received his J.D. from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.

During Felton’s tenure, he successfully secured $3.8 million in programmatic grants to strengthen the institution’s master’s degree program; increased career placement through advisement, and created an intramural complex with a $50,000 grant secured from the Home Depot Retool Your School Campus Improvement Program.

As a result of Felton’s engagement efforts, alumni support grew significantly, with $458,000 in gifts being garnered at the 2017 Wilberforce University National Alumni Association Conference. He also secured $350,000 to create the new Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Good and Transformational Leadership.

“It is an honor and privilege to be a part of the rich legacy of Wiley College,” said Felton. “I look forward to working with Wiley trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and supporters to prepare the next generation of servant-leaders.”

As for Wilberforce University, Dr. Pinkard will begin his tenure on March 1, 2018. Dr. Pinkard is a native of Miami, Florida, who holds a Doctorate from Harvard University, a Masters from Howard University, and a BA from Morehouse College. Over his more than 40-year career, Dr. Pinkard has served as the Founding Executive of the UNCF Institute of Capacity Building; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Johnson C. Smith University; Associate Provost at Dillard University; Chief Planning Officer at Spelman College; Chair, Division of Social Sciences at Florida Memorial University. In addition, Dr. Pinkard had held faculty and administrative positions at Miami Dade College, Colgate University, the College of Wooster, and California State University-Long Beach.

“We are excited that Dr. Pinkard will lead us into the next phase of the legacy of Wilberforce University. He is a seasoned administrator who is uniquely qualified for the position as he has worked closely with Dr. Felton in developing the path forward for the University. The incredible and exciting momentum occasioned by the Wilberforce Renaissance will continue unabated.” stated Mark Wilson, Chairman of The Board of Trustees.

Felton will work closely with, Dr. Pinkard to facilitate and support a smooth and seamless transition of presidential leadership.



According to a press release by the university, the grant will help establish the Wilberforce University Graduate Assistance Fund to provide scholarships, fellowships, and internships to support students to degree completion. In addition the Fund will allow for the renovation of the teaching and learning spaces for the Master’s Program, re-imagination of a learning innovation center for students and faculty to explore creative strategies to improve pedagogy, clinical learning training, and research.

Additionally, the grant will establish the Faculty Innovation Fund to support and enhance professional development, scholarly presentations and publications, and collaborative research.

“Under the leadership of our Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard and the dedicated and hard work of our newly appointed Director of Title III, Mrs. Jacqueline Waters, they were able to submit a winning proposal. This will be a transformational gift for the University, and most notably, our Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling Program. The awarding of this Grant is further affirmation of the Wilberforce Renaissance at work and solid recognition of what can occur when a University community of principled, talented and committed individuals work on behalf of a common good. We will continue to be laser-focused in our intention to continue the legacy of excellence established in 1856 at this venerable institution. We are prepared to do the work and it is wonderful to have resources to support our efforts to significantly enhance and strengthen our Master Program.” said Herman J. Felton, President of Wilberforce University.

The Masters of Science (MS) degree in Rehabilitation Counseling program is designed to meet the growing demand for qualified, professionally trained rehabilitation counselors. The 48-semester hour sequence of study prepares students to develop a mastery of the knowledge and skills identified by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) as requisite competencies for rehabilitation counselors.

Individuals interested in The Masters of Science (MS) degree in Rehabilitation Counseling program must submit the following documentation:

  1. Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (except from WU).
  2. Three letters of recommendation from professionals in related social services fields.
  3. A completed Graduate Rehabilitation Counseling Program application.
  4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae.
  5. An Autobiographical Statement up to three pages in length, double-spaced, typed.
  6. A non-refundable application fee of $40.
  7. GRE or MAT scores.

For more information regarding the Masters of Science (MS) degree in Rehabilitation Counseling program at Wilberforce University, visit

WILBERFORCE, OH – Wilberforce University, the oldest private historically black college and university located in Wilberforce, Ohio, has announced new appointments to their Board of Trustees. The 21st President Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr., announced Thursday (January 12) via his Instagram.

“These appointments support a continued renewal of the Wilberforce commitment of excellence to its constituency that has been dubbed “The Wilberforce Renaissance”, I am proud to be a part of this exciting new era.” said Mr. Mark Wilson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Meet the appointees:








“This outstanding cadre of professionals demonstrates that indeed the renaissance at Wilberforce is underway. We are pleased and excited to have each of these extraordinary individuals, the multitude of experience they bring in the private and public sector, as well as their involvement in board governance at some of the nation’s premiere universities.” said Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr., 21st President of Wilberforce University.

These appointments come six months after Dr. Felton Jr., was named the new president of Wilberforce. Dr. Felton previously served as senior vice president, COO and vice president of institutional advancement at Livingstone College and well as holding employment at Murray State University. He has specialized in strategic planning, fundraising, and administration while overseeing day-to-day operations for the college.

HCF joins Mr. Wilson, Dr. Felton Jr., and the Wilberforce University community in welcoming these five superior individuals to WU’s Board of Trustees and we are excited and look forward to seeing great progress in the new era of ‘The Wilberforce Renaissance.”

For more information about Wilberforce University, visit