Planned by the Cincinnati, Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church to provide a "literary institution" (classical education) and teacher training for black youth, founders worked in partnership with founders from the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) to develop Wilberforce University. It was named for the 18th century English statesman and abolitionist William Wilberforce. The college also played a role in the Underground Railroad. The campus is located three miles from the county seat of Xenia, Ohio, and 21 miles from Dayton, Ohio and about the same distance to Cincinnati.
NASA’s program is designed to provide training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to underprivileged students to support NASA’s future needs. There are 17 NASA SEMAA project sites through the United States. Through this partnership, Wilberforce will offer training sessions for students in grades K-12 during the academic year and during the summer. The AEL is computerized classroom that provided technology to students in grades 7-12 that supports the SEMAA training sessions.
To start the university, the Cincinnati Conference bought a hotel and property near Tanawa Springs, which had been a popular resort for people both from Cincinnati and the South. The college opened for classes in 1856, and by 1858 Rev. Richard S. Rust was selected as the first President. By 1860 the university had 200 students, a good portion of them natural sons of planters from the South. The outbreak of Civil War threatened the college's finances, as church resources were diverted, and no more paying students came from the South. The college closed temporarily in 1862 and the Methodist Church was unable to fully fund it.
In 1863 the African Methodist Episcopal Church made the decision to buy the university to keep it going. Founders were Bishop Daniel A. Payne, first President; Bishop James A. Shorter and Dr. John G. Mitchell. When an arsonist damaged some of the buildings by fire in 1865, Chief Justice Salmon Chase (appointed by President Lincoln) and Dr. Charles Avery from Pittsburgh each contributed $10,000 for rebuilding, and Mary E. Monroe contributed $4200. Congress approved $25,000 for the institution, and money was also raised privately from a wide range of donors.
Generations of leaders: teachers, ministers, doctors, and presidents of other colleges, and later men and women of all occupations, have been educated at the university. Growth of the university drove the need to build a new campus in 1967, located one mile away. In 1974, a tornado destroyed much of the city of Xenia and the old campus. It was part of the Super Outbreak tornado storm.
Its strong tradition led the university to establish the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, which provides exhibits and outreach to the region. It also manages the Association of African American Museums to provide support especially to smaller museums. Other old campus buildings still in use include the Carnegie Library built in 1909 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Shorter Hall built in 1922, and the Charles Leander Hill Gymnasium, built in 1958.
The OIG found:
"The University did not comply with the Title IV, HEA program requirements because it was not administratively capable. During the audit period, the University experienced significant staff turnover and lacked sufficient financial aid staff, failed to develop and implement written policies and procedures, did not maintain all records needed to demonstrate compliance with the HEA and applicable regulations, and did not ensure sufficient communication between the financial aid office and all other institutional offices at the University."