Save Wilberforce Now

Dear Members and Friends,

Wilberforce University, founded in 1856 by the United Methodist Church to educate the children of slave masters, was forced to close in 1862 because of the Civil War. On March 10, 1863, through God’s grace and mercy, Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne purchased Wilberforce University for the AME Church on faith for $10,000, making it the oldest private coeducational institution of higher learning to be owned and controlled by African Americans. Again, through God’s grace and mercy, Wilberforce has weathered many storms—the fire that destroyed its main building on April 14, 1865, the night that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the ”split” in June, 1947, with the resulting lawsuits to preserve its name and legacy.

Today Wilberforce University again stands on the threshold of a life-threatening crisis. Served with Show Cause warnings by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, Wilberforce University must by December 15 show that it has met certain criteria necessary to maintain its accreditation. Foremost is that Wilberforce University must demonstrate success in reducing its debt of $15 million and present a plan to assure its financial stability and viability.

The Council of Bishops and the General Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have approved our “Save Wilberforce Now!” campaign commencing Sunday, November 2  through Sunday, November 23 (November 2, 9, 16, and 23).  Please lift a generous offering for Wilberforce.  Donations should be sent directly to:

Wilberforce University
ATTN:  Save Wilberforce Now!
P O Box 1001
Wilberforce, OH  45384

Contributions can also be made online at

Our Trustee Board Chair, Mark Wilson, a Wilberforce graduate; and Vice Chair, John Chris Miller are pursuing National Corporate support.  The loyal National Alumni Association has pledged to raise $2 million. We are now appealing to the AME Church, the founding mother, to come to the rescue by declaring four Sundays in November as “Wilberforce University Day” and to appeal to every AME and every friend of higher education to join in raising $5 million.

Save Wilberforce Now!

Bishop McKinley Young

P.O. Box 1001 | 1055 N. Bickett Rd. | Wilberforce, OH 45384-1001 (937) 708-5709

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