The alumni of Wilberforce University in Ohio are stepping up to support the struggling HBCU. At a recent national alumni conference, $400,000 was donated to help the school financially and another $1.4 million was pledged.
Talbert Grooms, president of the university’s alumni association, said in a statement that “as alumni , we have the responsibility to commit our time and effort to developing and maintaining scholarship programs, assisting in recruiting efforts, and supporting the mission of the university as well as the students.”
In June the board of trustees of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association issued a “show-cause order” to Wilberforce University. A show-cause order is a procedural order that requires an institution to present its case as to why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. The university has until December 15, 2014 to respond and a committee will visit the Wilberforce campus in February to see if its concerns have been addressed. Of particular concern to the commission was four straight years of operating deficits and $23 million in debt.
So the nearly $2 million in donations and pledges is a good first step but the university and its alumni have a lot more work to do.