WILBERFORCE — Central State University celebrated 131 years at its Charter Day Convocation March 6 on campus at the Paul Robeson Cultural & Performing Arts Center.
The convocation reflected on the 1887 establishment of the Combined Normal and Industrial Department at Wilberforce University, which later became a separate state entity of higher education, Central State University.
Cook County Illinois Commissioner Richard R. Boykin addressed the crowd as the keynote speaker during the ceremony.
“Education has the way of igniting our purpose and our passion. It was at this great institution that my candle was lit. It’s at this institution that you, too, will find your voice, and you will go and you will light the world and you will set it on fire,” Boykin said.
Boykin, of the 1st District in Chicago, Ill., began his career in public service as a Lyndon B. Johnson Intern for U.S. Representative Bobby Rush. He went on to serve as a Congressional Black Caucus Fellow for former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African American woman elected to the United States Senate. Boykin was also legislative director and then chief of staff to U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis.
“This has been our house for 131 years, this has been our home and I encourage you to let your light shine, because when you let your light shine — guess what? Companies are built and transformed. When you let your light shine, chains are broken. When you let your light shine, glass ceilings are shattered and board rooms are transformed. When you let your light shine, we find the cure for cancer,” Boykin continued. “… When you let your light shine, there is nothing that can stop you, there is nothing that you can not do.”
Seven alumni were inducted into the CSU Alumni Achievement Hall of Fame: Gonzalo J. Rodriguez Sr., deceased, Class of 1952;David A. Lister, deceased, Class of 1962; Mr. William H. Wiley, Richton Park, Ill., Class of 1963; Brad M. Beasley, Atlanta, Ga., Class of 1973; Deborah Perkins, Chicago, Ill., Class of 1973; Marcella A. Sampson, Huber Heights, Class of 1974; Lisa M. Peterson, Springfield, Class of 1987.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.