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Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU)

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Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University

Location: Wilberforce, Ohio
School Size: 307 undergraduate students
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Wilberforce University is named after the famed 18th-century abolitionist William Wilberforce. The Methodist Episcopal Church bought land near Xenia, Ohio, for a new school in 1856. Attendance and funding dropped after the Civil War. Wilberforce closed in 1862. In March of the following year, Bishop Daniel A. Payne of the A.M.E. Church purchased the University's premises. Payne, a founder of the 1856 company, enlisted the help of John G. Mitchell, principal of Cincinnati's Eastern District Public School, and James A. Shorter, pastor of Zanesville's A.M.E. Church. They were quickly appointed as the church's agents. The University was founded in 1863. A combined normal and industrial department funded by the state of Ohio was established in 1887. This department ultimately became Central State University. Wilberforce also founded Payne Theological Seminary. It sprang out of Wilberforce University's Theological Department in 1891. Wilberforce University continues to build on its illustrious history today. It's a four-year accredited liberal arts university that provides a great education.