- Seniors at Wilberforce University couldn’t believe their ears when the university president announced that they’ll be graduating debt-free.
- When Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard announced the good news during their graduation ceremony, cheers erupted from the grateful students.
- Dr. Pinkard shared that the school wanted to reward their newest alumni’s “strength and perseverance” through “difficult circumstances” and give them “a fresh start.”
Thousands of students have been burdened by student loan debt, that many have been wishing it could somehow be magically erased.
The seniors at Wilberforce University got to experience how it feels like to graduate debt-free when university president Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard announced the good news during their graduation ceremony on June 5.
Cheers erupted as soon as the announcement was made. Most of the students were in tears, overwhelmed with gratitude.
Dr. Pinkard shared that the pandemic has already brought the classes of 2020 and 2021 through so much. This is why the school decided to reward their “strength and perseverance” and give them “a fresh start.”
“We are in awe of your strength and perseverance, because you have made your family and yourselves proud, because you have shown the work, because you have shown you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances, because you represent the best of your generation, we wish to give you a fresh start,” he stated.
The students’ collective $375,000 debt was paid off by partnerships with several organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, Inc. and Jack and Jill, Inc.
The historical Wilberforce University in Ohio was the first university to ever be owned and operated by African Americans. It is also affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The school’s decision was particularly impactful because debt usually affects African American students more than other groups.
Rodman Allen, one of the graduates, called it a “blessing.” He added, “I know God will be with me. I’m not worried. I can use that money and invest into my future.”
Dr. Pinkard expressed his hopes that their newest alumni will be inspired to start a cycle of paying it forward to help others succeed.
This is certainly the best surprise they can give these deserving students!
Source: Inspire More