It’s been almost one year since Herman J. Felton became President of Wilberforce University, the oldest private HBCU to be owned and operated by African Americans in the nation. Since then, Dr. Felton has remained resilient and strategic in his plan for success regarding the university. His latest accomplishment includes a partnership with Seattle Central College (SCC) in Seattle, Washington. The partnership will guarantee admission for all students who earn 2-year associates degrees. Students transferring from SCC will enter Wilberforce as juniors, keeping all of their credits, as they meet the standards for admissions to the university. In an exclusive interview with HBCU Buzz, Dr. Felton said he is determined to progress the university by way of the Wilberforce Renaissance and that includes boosting enrollment through brand new partnerships with community colleges.
SCC enrolls about 6,500 students, with African American students making up for only 9 percent of the population. Dr. Sheila E. Lange, President of SCC told Seattle Medium Magazine that she wanted her students to have a broad range of alternatives when considering a bachelors degree. Dr. Lange served as interim President of SCC in 2015 and became permanent President in 2016. “I believe that HBCU’s have something to offer that students may not be able to get at other institutions” she stated. Dr. Lange holds a a masters and doctorate degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Washington.
“Dr. Lange’s vision and direction for Seattle Central College, particularly for students of color is an attractive draw to the Wilberforce,” said Felton. “Her progressive thoughts and ideas also align nicely with the Renaissance of Wilberforce as we desire to give space to entrepreneurship, social good and leadership — goals shared with Seattle Central College.”
Founded in 1856, Wilberforce, a liberal arts institution, can trace its origin to a period of history before the Civil War, when the Ohio Underground Railroad was established as a means of escape for all those Blacks who sought their freedom in the North from slavery, one of the destination points of this railroad became Wilberforce University.
Great things are in store for both Wilberforce and Seattle Central through this collaborative effort. Students from SCC will begin enrolling at Wilberforce in the Fall of 2017.