Commencement surprise: Wilberforce University cancels debt for graduating class Saturday

Miami Valley News

WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) – Students at Wilberforce University got an expected graduation gift at their commencement Saturday.

At the end of commencement, President Elfred Anthony Pinkard told the graduates that their Wilberforce University fines and other debt owed to the university for 2020 and 2021 have been canceled to a balance of zero.

The total tally that has been cleared from all Wilberforce students enrolled in 2020 and 2021 exceeds $375, 000, according to the university.

“As these graduates begin their lives as responsible adults, we are honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university,” said Pinkard.

The university graduated students with degrees in Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and the adult education CLIMB program at the event. This year’s socially distanced commencement combined the classes of 2020 and 2021.

Wilberforce University said their debt erasing dollars are resourced from various scholarships such as the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc., and other institutional funding to help students with their higher education finances.

“I couldn’t believe it when he said it. I know now God will be with me. Now I can use that money and invest it into my future,” said Rodman Allen, 2021 WU alumnus.

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