WILBERFORCE — Wilberforce University students, alumni, and staff consider their college to be one of a kind and a national treasure — one with a long, storied past rich in history.
The nation’s first private Historically Black College/University (HBCU) and Xenia are collaborating and borrowing the concept called Town and Gown. In this modern era, the idea is designed to promote internships and employment with Xenia for Wilberforce students and to strengthen the relationship between the city and the 166-year-old university according to information provided by the university.
Wilberforce recently participated as a sponsor of the Xenia Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast held last fall at Emmanuel Baptist Church. The university’s executive team met with the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce at the university to discuss university events and programs.
“This initiative is not just going to build jobs but will also bring ideas to the table,” said Mayor Sarah Mays. “This will also bring new, innovative ways to move forward.”
More good news for Wilberforce — in February, Xenia City Council officials passed a resolution to accept ARPA Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Program grant funding for the Wilberforce Sanitary Sewer Sliplining Project.
Acceptance of the grant funding, which is administered through the Ohio Department of Development, required formal action by city council which anticipates accepting bids during second quarter 2022. Construction is anticipated during the upcoming months according to city officials.
In November, the university and the Cincinnati Reds announced after an eight-decade hiatus, baseball is returning to Wilberforce in fall 2022. This connection also means there will be opportunities for Wilberforce students to gain experience with front office internships.
The WU golf team is experiencing a renaissance also. Originally founded in the early 1940s, golf at WU had been dormant for many years. Now, led by Coach William Ware, the team is competing in NAIA tournaments. The Golf Superintendents Association of America has exposed an opportunity for one of the WU scholar/golfers to receive a paid internship at the Westfield Golf Club in northeast Ohio. Also, through an agreement with PGA Tour, United Airlines has given $10,000 to the men’s and $10,000 to the women’s teams for airline travel.
Next month, a memo of understanding will be signed between WU and the Ohio State University’s department of crop science and horticulture. This will create certificate courses in turf grass management taught by OSU faculty. To further promote the golf team, the Miami Valley Golf Association in Dayton is offering internships to WU golfers as well, school officials said.
Other positive events have happened in the Wilberforce area. The 158th observance of General Charles Young’s birthday was celebrated March 12, with keynote speaker General Robert Crear presiding over the ceremony. Hundreds of guests, including several Greene County officials, attended the event which took place at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center (NAAMCC) in Wilberforce.
The National Park Service extended a special thanks to the NAAMCC for hosting the event while the General Charles Young home is closed for extensive renovations.
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, 1350 Brush Row Road, has had a banner year with special exhibits and art which pays homage to Black women from Ohio.
The “Queen of the Heartland” exhibit on display at the Center takes a small step toward giving 30 of Ohio’s most influential black women of the past two centuries their due according to the museum’s website.
Also on display at the museum is “Behind the Mask: Black Power in Comics,” a look at African American characters in comic strips, comic books, and film. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is $6 or $3 for students ages 6 to 17 and free for Ohio History Connection members.