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First U.S. HBCU Launches Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Good & Leadership
The Historically Black College and University (HBCU) space has always been a site for the development of entrepreneurs, a location for consciousness-raising, and a community where leaders are nurtured. These spaces were birthed out of self-determination, where ingenuity and activism often converged to create social change.
Wilberforce (OH) University -America’s first private HBCU, which was founded by William Wilberforce, an English politician, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to stop the slave trade - wants to not only continue offering access to knowledge through its academic programs to respond to these imperatives, but also provide a clear and concise road map that empowers and engages participants in a changing world.
To that end, the university has the opened The Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship, Social Good and Transformational Leadership.
“As the president of the nation’s oldest privately owned HBCU, I feel the sincere obligation to re-establish Wilberforce as an innovator in this space,” notes Wilberforce President Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr.
“After much contemplation, planning, and generous grants and gifts, I’m pleased to announce the establishment of [the Center] at Wilberforce University.”
Launched last November, The Center is designed to serve as an incubator for ideas, practices, and research that engages its students and community via entrepreneurship and social good, and develops transformational leaders.
The center’s namesakes, Dr. Mark and Shelly Wilson, are “examples of the ways our students can impact their communities. Mark Wilson, Wilberforce University alum and Board Chairman, and Shelly Wilson, are entrepreneurs [and] philanthropists, who have led extensively within their communities,” notes Felton.
The Wilsons are owners of Morrow, GA-based Chime Solutions, Inc. - a nationally certified Minority Business Entity - has delivered customer service solutions that have ensured long-term customer retention and, ultimately, revenue for its clients.
Their philanthropic reach extends across the country. And “their outstanding contribution to the Center, is another example of Dr. Wilson’s contribution to his alma mater, Wilberforce University, and his and Mrs. Wilson’s commitment to the next generation of entrepreneurs, change agents and leaders,” says Felton.
The Center is an opportunity to experiment, build, research, and shape our world. It’s Wilberforce’s and the Center’s intent to use three platforms - entrepreneurship, social good and transformational leadership - “to inspire radical change for our students and the communities from which they come and [to which] will return,” according to Felton.
“The Center is an opportunity to come together to locate challenges, but more importantly to serve as an incubator for solutions. For the next year we will launch various aspects of the Center, and begin the process of identifying an executive director.”
For more information about the Center, visit wilberforce.edu/the-center or email email@example.com.
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