WILBERFORCE — Students, faculty and alumni were downright giddy over Friday’s announcement that Wilberforce University was no longer being held hostage by a show-cause order.
The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits more than 1,000 universities in a 19-state region, had placed the country’s oldest private historically black university on its death bed over budget, infrastructure and enrollment issues.
But more than a year later, the school emerged victorious as it announced the HLC had lifted its show cause and placed the school on a standard accreditation path.
In an event that was missing only a marching band and confetti, the school celebrated its achievement while collectively exhaling.
“This is an extremely important day,” said student government president Chaz Waller, a junior. “We came from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high.”
University Provost Dr. D.R. Buffinger threw his arms up triumphantly as he screamed “We did it.”
“You could not believe the joy in my heart when I heard last night we were out of show cause,” he said.
Talbert Grooms, president of the university’s national alumni association said his phone and email were full of messages from fellow Wilberforce grads.
“Alums from across the country asking me to please thank (President Dr. Algeania Warren Freeman) for saving our beloved Wilberforce University,” he said.
“Miss Wilberforce” Imani Brown said Friday’s announcement validates the diplomas graduates will receive in the spring.
“Seniors, our degrees wouldn’t have been worth anything,” she said.
Added “Mr. Wilberforce” and student trustee DeAndre Dearinge: “This is a Christmas gift. It’s been an uphill journey but we made it.”
The school will continue to be monitored by the HLC, but Freeman drew cheers when she said the school will not let up, give up or back up and will only move forward.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.